Taking good care of your child’s oral health now will ensure that they remain healthy in the future. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over half of children ages six to eight have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth.
So, what are some of the most prevalent age-related dental diseases in pediatric dentistry to know about?
Read on to learn more about some common dental problems that affect children, so you can be prepared.
Cavities are one of the most common issues with kids and adults, but they tend to be more prevalent in children. Sugary foods and drinks can cause cavities to form without the right dental care.
Younger kids are especially prone to cavities, especially if they haven’t begun brushing and flossing. Older kids should adopt good oral hygiene at the earlier age possible.
Make sure your child is brushing their teeth after every meal and before bedtime using fluoride toothpaste. Children who wear braces and other oral appliances are also more vulnerable to cavities.
Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings for your child. This is the best way to ensure cavity prevention and that any existing cavities will be addressed as soon as possible.
Gingivitis and Gum Disease
Another common issue in pediatric dentistry is gingivitis and gum disease. While you might think it mostly affects adults, this issue is also common in kids, too.
Gingivitis occurs before gum disease and signs include red, swollen gum and mild bleeding when your child flosses or brushes. Gum disease is more aggressive and advanced than gingivitis.
If your child is experiencing severe mouth pain or you notice that their gums are receding or swollen, take them to the dentist right away. Gum disease can easily create more serious dental problems in the future if it’s not treated. Improper oral hygiene can cause gum disease as well as crooked or crowded teeth.
Pediatric Dentistry: Tooth Sensitivity
A child with sensitive teeth can experience all kinds of issues including problems sleeping and difficulties focusing. The cause of sensitive teeth varies, so it’s important to bring them in for a dental check-up twice a year.
Some common causes of sensitive teeth include decay (cavities), newly erupted permanent teeth, or enamel erosion. Children who grind their teeth or who have a cracked or missing filling will also likely experience tooth sensitivity.
Fortunately, there are plenty of different treatments available to help give your child relief. If your child complains about tooth sensitivity or dental pain, it’s vital that you make an appointment with your child’s dentist right away. They can determine the underlying cause and take steps to correct it.
An “open bite” refers to when the upper front teeth don’t come together with the lower front teeth. This can cause a gap, even when your child’s mouth is completely closed.
Kids dealing with an open bite may experience issues biting and chewing. In some cases, it may even affect their speech and can certainly have negative effects on their self-esteem.
Open bite is common in toddlers and small children who suck their thumbs, and in infants who use a pacifier. The issue doesn’t usually become apparent until the child gets older. Thumb-sucking causes problems with how children’s teeth develop, so this habit should not be allowed in kids past the toddler stage of life.
Another very common issue seen in pediatric dentistry is an assortment of dental emergencies. These emergencies can vary depending on the issue, but they’re often due to some kind of injury that occurred during rough play or sports.
Broken, chipped, cracked, or missing teeth are common examples of dental emergencies in kids. Whether they fell off their bike or they were roughhousing with their friends, these things can occur at any time.
In most cases, the problem can be addressed by a pediatric dentist, as long as it’s handled right away. If your child’s tooth falls out, contact the dentist and schedule an emergency appointment. Take the tooth and put it in a glass of milk, clean water, or saline solution.
Sometimes, the dentist may be able to put the tooth back into the socket and let it reattach to the root using a retainer. Cracked or chipped teeth can also be fixed by a professional, so don’t hesitate to bring your child in as soon as the problem occurs.
Some children may experience orthodontic problems due to genetics or habits. The size and shape of your child’s jaw determine how the teeth grow and come together over time.
Misaligned teeth are quite common in kids and may include an overbite, underbite, open bite, or issues with spacing. Schedule an appointment with an orthodontist when your child reaches the age of seven or eight. They can help to examine your child’s teeth to ensure that they’re growing straight.
If the teeth are overcrowded, it can result in cracked teeth and jaw pain as well as problems with oral care and hygiene. The sooner these problems are addressed, the better the odds are that your child’s teeth with grow correctly as they age.
Give Your Child a Healthy Smile
The more you know about common diseases and problems in pediatric dentistry, the more you can help your child’s smile shine. Always make sure you schedule regular exams and cleanings to keep your child’s dental health in great shape.
If you’re ready to schedule an anxiety-free dental appointment for your child, contact the team at Kentuckiana Pediatric Dentistry today!