Parents always want their children to have the best and feel happy when the child’s dental and general health is perfect. Ensuring your child has good oral hygiene habits from when the teeth start growing will improve your child’s dental and general health.
A good oral hygiene habit for your child prevents dental problems that mostly affects children. Children have delicate dental health and get affected by different dental issues if they do not get the right dental care.
The following are common dental problems to look out for in your child and adolescent.
1. Tooth decay
Most children at a young age do not know how to brush and floss their teeth properly, so they need supervision to get it right. Children also have lots of food containing a high amount of sugar, making them at a higher risk of developing plaque.
Tooth decay occurs when plaque accumulates on the enamel, releasing acids that erode the enamel and subsequently wear down the tooth.
Ensure you supervise and help your child brush the teeth properly until the child is old enough to have a firm grasp and control of their toothbrush without help. Brushing properly aids in removing plaques, food particles, and bacteria from the teeth, which prevents early tooth decay.
If your child has a decayed tooth, the best option may be to visit a dentist for a tooth filling, where the dentist drills out the decayed part of the teeth and fill it using a hard composite material.
2. Tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can cause a child serious discomfort, disrupting the child’s routine and ability to focus on an activity. A child may develop tooth sensitivity from different dental issues, so it is important to schedule regular appointments with the dental hygienist and dentist for check-ups and cleaning.
During a dental check-up, the dentist can identify the cause of a tooth sensitivity, which may include the following.
- A missing or cracked filling
- An area of decay (cavity)
- Teeth grinding
- Enamel wear or acid erosion
- Newly erupted permanent teeth
- Orthodontic treatment
Different types of treatment are available for sensitive teeth to reduce discomfort and pain. If the tooth sensitivity results from a dental problem, like tooth decay, ensure you visit the dentist immediately for treatment before the underlying problem worsens.
3. Dental emergencies
No one plans for a dental emergency, and it can happen at any time, especially for children. Activities like roughhousing with friends, riding a bike or playing sports may quickly result in a dental accident, such as a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth that requires immediate dental care.
If your child’s permanent tooth comes off during an accident, ensure your child gets to the dentist immediately and try to retrieve the tooth. You can do this by placing the tooth in a glass of saltwater, clean water, or milk. The dentist may place the permanent tooth back in its socket to reattach to the root.
A parent cannot always prevent a child from having a dental emergency, but you can get your child a mouth-guard to prevent mouth injuries.
4. Gum disease and pediatric gingivitis
Most people think gum disease is limited to adults, but this is untrue. Pediatric gingivitis and gum disease can affect children, and the condition is quite common in children at a younger age. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. Its symptoms include slight bleeding of the gum when flossing or brushing, swollen and red gums.
Gum disease usually affects children with poor oral hygiene, causing gum recession, swelling and mouth pain. Pediatric gingivitis and gum disease are avoidable with brushing and flossing daily. Sometimes gum disease occurs because a child has crooked and crowded teeth, preventing the child from cleaning the teeth properly.
5. Orthodontic problems
Most children have misaligned and crooked teeth, but different orthodontic treatments are available to correct this. Most orthodontic problems in children stem from genetics. The shape and size of a child’s jaw affect how the teeth grow and come together.
The common orthodontic issues in children include open bite, underbite, overbite and spacing problems. Your child needs to have the first visit with an orthodontist at about seven or eight years to help early intervention in a potential orthodontic problem.
Orthodontic problems in children go beyond having a crooked smile. These problems may result in oral hygiene issues, cracked teeth and jaw problems.
6. Excessive thumb sucking
Many toddlers, small children and infants suck on their thumbs or a pacifier to soothe their anxiety. Cucking the thumb or a pacifier may not be a problem until the child gets older and continues with the habit. Prolonged thumb sucking and use of a pacifier may cause a problem in teeth development. Dental professionals advise parents to discourage their children from using a pacifier or sucking on the thumb past the toddler stage.
Most times, chronic use of a pacifier and thumb sucking can cause an open bite. In an open bite, the upper front teeth do not meet the lower front teeth. This creates a gap even with a closed mouth, biting and chewing difficulties, and affecting proper speech production.
7. Phobias and dental anxiety
Most adults feel nervous about visiting the dentist, and this is more common in children. It may be difficult to get your child with dental anxiety to see the dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning, which may affect their dental health in the long run.
If your child has dental anxiety, you can try to make the visit a fun and enjoyable one and opt for a pediatric dentist who has experience caring for children with dental anxiety and has techniques to calm anxious children.
You can also teach your child the importance of good dental hygiene to see reasons to make caring for the teeth a priority. This can help the child feel less anxious or scared about visiting a dentist.
You can try being a role model for the child when it comes to brushing and flossing. Carrying for the child along to your dental appointments and caring for the teeth can make your child more willing to improve their oral hygiene. You can work with the pediatric dentist to prevent your child from having any common dental problem.
Regular appointments with the hygienist will help preserve your child’s dental health. You can visit at www.dentalhygienist.london to schedule an appointment for your child’s dental cleaning.
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