Your child is sure to have to face one or more dental disorders throughout their childhood and adolescence. Very few children, for instance, grow up without having a single cavity. Most will have to have several teeth filled along the way, and some children, for one reason or another, will be more susceptible to tooth decay.
Since kids are vulnerable to a lot of dental problems, we’re going over the most common ones that our pediatric dentists treat in Aurora. Luckily, most of them can be prevented with extra diligence in your child’s oral care routine, so pay attention!
As we mentioned earlier, cavities are a common problem in children’s teeth. Left untreated, they can result in a lot of pain, aggravation, and difficulty performing regular functions like eating and speaking. Cavities form when the natural bacteria that is present in the mouth combine with certain foods that are rich in carbohydrate content. This combination forms a plaque that damages the very structure of a tooth and leads to tooth decay. The best way to reduce your child’s chances of getting cavities is to make sure that they see a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. The sooner a cavity is discovered, the easier it is to treat!
Bruxism is the medical term assigned to tooth grinding. It is not unusual for children to grind their teeth from time to time, but if it becomes a persistent habit, it may cause damage to the teeth. The grinding often occurs while the child is sleeping, and may go unnoticed if parents aren’t aware that it is happening. If your child starts waking up with complaints of jaw pain, or headaches, it may be an indication that he is grinding his teeth during the night.
If left untreated, the constant grinding will wear down the structure of the teeth, leading to premature loss of primary teeth, and if it is allowed to continue, may cause the need for replacement of permanent teeth. Your pediatric dentist will be able to get to the reason for the grinding and recommend measures that you can take to stop the habit. They will probably suggest that your child wear a mouthguard while he sleeps.
Thumb sucking is a common habit kids develop in early childhood when they are teething.. Past a certain age, it can lead to the development of an irregular or uneven palate. This may require expensive, time-consuming orthodontic work to fix in the future, so it’s better to curb the habit as soon as possible!
Children usually outgrow thumbsucking without incident, but if the habit continues after the age of 3 or 4, you may consider bringing it to the attention of your pediatric dentist, who will suggest how you can help your child control the tendency. Thumb sucking often begins as a teething habit and progresses into a defense mechanism. One way to stop your child from sucking their thumb is by identifying their triggers, so they also understand why and how to stop. It’s important to be gentle and positive about weaning your child off their habit. There are also thumb guards you can buy that physically prevent your child from sucking their thumb.
Like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting can exert pressure on the teeth and disrupt the proper development of a child’s bite. This can eventually lead to an overbite or a speech development problem. To prevent that from happening, parents can take their child to a speech pathologist for treatment. The pediatric dentist can also help stop tongue thrusting by giving your child a retainer or mouth guard.
Early Tooth Loss
Children naturally lose their baby teeth as their permanent teeth grow in, but losing baby teeth prematurely can negatively impact your child’s orofacial development. Baby teeth keep each other in alignment and stimulate the bones to continue growing. When a baby tooth is lost too soon, a gap is left in the child’s mouth. This can result in teeth becoming misaligned, possibly resulting in cavities or temporomandibular disorder. If your child loses their tooth to decay or an accident, the pediatric dentist will often recommend using a space maintainer to prevent other teeth from shifting.
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, see a pediatric dentist for a checkup. They can advise you about how to start implementing a dental care regimen early on. It can be as simple as wiping the teeth with a wet cloth after meals! Brushing and flossing are the cornerstone to proper dental care for strong, healthy teeth.
You can also talk to your pediatric dentist about how certain foods affect your child’s teeth. Your child’s teeth and bones need certain vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, folate, etc. to develop properly. Many seemingly healthy products that are marketed to children are chock full of sugar and devoid of nutrients. Since sugar contributes to cavities, try to stay away from these items!
At Epic Dentistry for Kids, our Aurora pediatric dentist treats children of all ages from infancy to adolescence! We understand all the intricacies of pediatric dentistry and how to take care of our patients with compassion. If you are interested in learning more about our services, swing by our office or give us a call!