Kid’s Dental Problems You Should Not Neglect

One of the main reasons why parents tend to overlook their children’s oral health is due to a common misconception: those are not permanent teeth. However, research has shown that a lack of oral health can significantly impact a child’s overall health. Studies show that children with dental problems may have wrong alignment or weakness of permanent teeth, loss of school days, and in worse cases developmental problems. Even though common dental problems for kids are not serious to start, they can have long term consequences.

Most Common Dental Problems That Children Have

The most common dental problems for kids is tooth decay. This is brought on by poor feeding habits such as allowing children to have sugary drinks like juice and milk. Milk has lactose, which is a form of sugar. Parents often let their children go to bed with a bottle of milk, so this has to stop. Tooth decay can lead to an infection, and sometimes sepsis if left unchecked for too long.

Another common problem is early tooth loss. While parents can expect a child to lose their baby teeth as they get older, sometimes things do not go as planned. Children are adventurous little humans, and it is not uncommon for them to lose a tooth before the permanent one appears. This can be a problem in the future, as baby teeth might shift to cover up the gap, causing a permanent tooth to grow crooked or move sideways to accommodate for the lack of space.

Other common dental problems for kids include thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Both are natural reflexes that comfort a child when they are young, but as they get older, it might affect the alignments of the teeth and jaw. While tongue thrusting reflex fades as the child gets older, thumb sucking might require parent’s intervention to stop.

Kid’s Dental Problems

If Neglected… 

It might seem like a small problem when the child is below the age of five, as they get older, habits are harder to break and they will have a bigger impact to the overall dental health.

Children with dental problems may have wrong alignment or weakness of permanent teeth
Photo by Jaskyne

Tooth decay can lead to pain, inflammation, and infection. A child will not be able to eat proper meals, resulting in malnourishment and developmental problems. If the child is going to school, the pain may be too distracting for effective learning. At worst, an infection can set in and sometimes be fatal.

Also, although thumb sucking and tongue thrusting seem minor, without any intervention, they may lead to bigger problems down the track. All these small issues can lead to malalignment of the teeth and jaws, and these can cause speech problems in the future. While parents cannot avoid accidents and may not be able to help kids to get rid of these habits, they can navigate through this with the help of a dentist.

An Effect on Real Teeth Later in Life

Dental problems during childhood can impact on the growth of permanent teeth. New teeth may emerge crooked, or the jaw might not be able to accommodate the full set of adult teeth.

As the child gets older, self-image becomes more important. A child needs to be accepted socially to thrive, and having a nice set of teeth can help that social development. Hence, the impact of these common dental problems for kids can be long-lasting. In addition, as the child gets older, the problem becomes harder to fix.

Prevention Methods to Keep Kid’s Teeth Healthy

Parents should start to cultivate good eating and drinking habits since young. Encourage children to have their meals and snacks on the dining table. Also, avoid putting sugary drinks in bottles for bed.

Cultivate good eating and drinking habits since young to avoid early teeth loss and tooth decay for kids
Photo by Yupachingping

Current guidelines recommend parents brushing their child’s teeth with soft bristle toothbrush and children’s toothpaste twice a day. Regular check-ups with the pediatric dentist to look out for cavities and ensuring proper jaw and teeth growth is important.

Comfort habits such as lip sucking, thumb sucking and tongue thrusting should be deterred via positive reinforcement and patience. Most children will outgrow the habit eventually. However, careful monitoring of the alignment of teeth may be needed until the habit breaks.

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