The life of children is full of adventures, growth, and exploration. At this growing age, they may have to face many dental problems. For example, a small fall during a mountain trek can lead to tooth loss, or missing the removal of a spot of plaque, can lead to the formation of a cavity.
Generally, kids’ dental problems are very similar to adult ones. However, the teeth of children are softer and younger than their permanent successors. Untreated primary teeth can become a reason for the misalignment of their successor permanent teeth leading to more serious dental problems in later stages.
Dental issues are common in children of all ages. Therefore, one must take preventive and proactive dental care. As every parent wants the best for their children, it is good to know about common pediatric dental problems and their prevention.
Following are some common dental problems that children and adolescent face:
1) Tooth decay:
Children at a very young age often avoid brushing or taking proper oral hygiene care. They are not very proficient at brushing and flossing at that age of learning. Moreover, most children love to have sugar-rich food like chocolates and icecreams. It encourages the formation of tooth-cavity, a major dental issue occurring in this age. It is because chocolates and icecreams are sticky enough to take their place on the tooth in the form of plaque. The acid in this plaque gradually eats away the enamel (the upper layer of the tooth), which results in the decaying of the tooth.
Parents should teach their children and help them to brush their teeth properly. They should make sure that their children are following the proper technique of brushing and flossing twice a day. Also, making sure that they are gargling with water after eating any sticky food. However, if a cavity still develops, make sure that you take them to a dentist and get the filling done on time. The delay could result in serious harm to the tooth and even its successor.
2) Tooth Sensitivity:
Sensitivity in teeth can be very distracting and painful. It can hamper the daily routine of your child. It can result due to various factors. Therefore, it is necessary that you take your child to your dentist and get their check-ups done regularly. These check-ups will help in the correct diagnosis of the issue.
Some of the causes for tooth sensitivity are listed below:
- Decayed areas (presence of cavities)
- Newly erupted permanent teeth
- Erosion due to acidic drinks or abrasion of enamel
- Teeth grinding habit (Bruxism)
- Secondary caries
- Orthodontic treatment
Depending upon the cause, many treatment modalities are opted to reduce the pain and discomfort. So, one needs to visit their dentist and get a solution to their problem.
3) Dental Emergencies:
Any sudden blow while playing, fall while bike-riding or trekking can result in some dental emergency. Such accidents can become the reason for dental injuries such as tooth chipping, breaking or cracking, or sometimes even complete loss of a tooth.
However, if your child’s tooth somehow falls off, immediately visit your dentist. Before that, try to preserve the tooth in a glass of milk, saline solution, or clean water. Your dentist may successfully reattach the tooth in the socket with the help of some retainer. Parents can give their children custom mouthguards, which they can use while doing sports. It is one way of avoiding a dental emergency.
4) Periodontal problems (Gum diseases):
It is thought that gum disease is common in adults. However, this is not true. Children also suffer from gingival problems like gingivitis presented as swollen and inflamed gingiva with slight bleeding when your child brushes or flosses. Gingivitis is often painful. The cause of the gingival disease is improper oral hygiene.
Proper brushing and flossing regularly is the easiest way to stay away from gingival problems. Dental hygiene in children becomes difficult when their teeth erupt improperly, such as in the case of crowding. Regular professional cleaning is a must in such cases.
5) Orthodontic Issues:
Orthodontic problems are common in children. Luckily, they are easy to treat, and there are many options available to get a perfect alignment through orthodontic treatment. Misalignment is generally related to genetics and the pattern in which the teeth erupt in the oral cavity. A habit like thumb-sucking also affects the eruption pattern. Some common orthodontic problems found in children are overbite, open bite, underbite, and spacing problems.
The best is that you get your child checked up at the age of 7-9 years. Most problems are easy to correct at this age. However, negligence in treatment does not only mean a crooked smile but can also cause jaw problems, cavities, and other oral hygiene issues, in the future.
6) Thumb-Sucking habit:
Thumb-sucking is normal in toddlers as means of pacifier that soothes their anxiety. However, a prolonged habit of thumb-sucking shouldn’t be allowed because it can cause deformations in the pattern in which tooth erupts.
Chronic use of a pacifier or the habit of thumb-sucking can result in an open bite.When the upper front teeth are not in occlusion with the lower front teeth, it is known as open bite. This results in the gap between the teeth even when the mouth is closed. Open bite makes it difficult for your child to eat and chew, also may affect their speech.
7) Anxiety and Phobias from dental treatments:
Even adults are nervous when it comes to giving a visit to a dental clinic. So, it is very natural for a child to be anxious and fearful about the dental environment. It is a challenge when it comes to getting your child checked up for their regular dental check-ups.
The best way to deal with this phobia is to give a child a relaxed and fun-filled environment. Let him get accustomed to the things in the surroundings. A pediatric dentist might help handle extremely anxious children. They have experience of working with such children. Apart from that, teach your child the importance of dental care, and make dental check-ups a routine for them. This will make it easy for them to adapt to the dental treatments.
If you would be a role model for your child in brushing, flossing, and maintaining oral hygiene, your child will automatically adopt the habits from you. Also, taking them for regular dental check-ups will help reinforce their oral care habits for a lifetime.
Lastly, if you work with your children and take guidance from your dentist, you can save your child from many dental problems starting from their age of development till their life in adulthood.