Cavities are not the only dental problem that children face. The truth is, there are many oral health issues that children and adults are equally susceptible to. Both baby teeth and permanent teeth demand proper care and attention if you want them to retain their health and appearance.
Don’t be alarmed if your child suffers from dental problems that go beyond tooth decay. However, do take action because pediatric dental concerns need to be treated as soon as possible so that they do not lead to lifelong setbacks within your child’s smile.
Here are six common dental concerns that you should be aware of as your child’s smile transforms from baby teeth to adult teeth:
#1 Tooth Decay – Cavities are undoubtedly a child’s primary threat when it comes to their dental health. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions children in the United States experience. Keep in mind, however, that dental caries are fully preventable with proper nutrition, routine dental visits and diligent oral hygiene at home. Dental sealants are also a powerful preventative weapon against childhood tooth decay.
#2 Sensitive Teeth – Does your child complain of tooth pain when drinking hot chocolate or eating ice cream? When suffering from sensitive teeth, a trip to the dentist is in order. Just like adults, children can experience sensitive teeth when there is enamel erosion, decay, gum recession or tiny hairline cracks in a tooth. It is important that a dentist determines the cause and offers prompt treatment.
#3 Bad Breath – It can be hard to believe that such a small, sweet smile can produce such bad breath. However, halitosis is not limited to a certain age group. The excess oral bacteria that causes most cases of bad breath can exist in adults as well as children. If better brushing and flossing habits don’t remedy your child’s dragon breath, schedule a visit to the dentist. Halitosis in kids can also be a warning sign of dry mouth, gum disease, tooth decay, chronic sinusitis or an undiagnosed medical condition.
#4 Gum Disease – Yes, kids can get gum disease too! In fact, adolescent patients are especially at risk for gum disease, or gingivitis, when they wear braces and experience surging hormones. While periodontal disease has many stages, it is essentially an infection within the gums due to accumulated plaque and bacteria along the gum line. If you notice that your child’s gums are red, puffy or frequently bleeding, let us know. Gum disease is often a consequence of poor or absent flossing habits in children.
#5 Teeth Grinding and Thumbsucking – It is not uncommon for children to engage in oral habits that lead to dental problems, especially during nighttime sleep. Teeth grinding (bruxism) and thumbsucking are two of the most prevalent oral habits in pediatric patients. If they go on too long, they can cause tooth damage, misalignment and other unwanted dental concerns. Talk to your dentist if you suspect chronic teeth grinding or if your child still sucks his or her thumb after the age of 4.
#6 Over-Retained Baby Teeth – When a primary tooth is refusing to fall out despite a permanent tooth erupting just behind it, it is called an “over-retained tooth.” This requires a dentist’s intervention to avoid impaction or other painful complications. In most cases, the primary tooth is simply removed or extracted by a dentist.
A Compassionate and Experienced Pediatric Dentist in Marietta
This list of pediatric dental issues is certainly not comprehensive. There are plenty of other oral health problems that children can encounter, ranging from wisdom teeth problems to canker sores. As a parent, make sure that you expand your radar when it comes to monitoring your child’s smile health.
It can be challenging to keep up with your own dental health, much less your child’s. So let our dental team help. Call Grateful Dental today to schedule your pediatric dental checkup. You’ll be glad to know that Dr. Porcaro offers a full range of dental services for kids, including cleanings, x-rays, fillings, sealants, extractions and much more.