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8 Common Dental Problems Seen In Children And How To Deal With Them

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Children are more vulnerable to dental ailments than adults. This happens because children are still learning how to care for their teeth and maintain good oral health.

Milk teeth are more sensitive to microbial attacks and infections.  Consumption of sweets, candies, and chocolates only increases the severity of the disease.

If a condition is left untreated and undiagnosed there is a potential of the ailment becoming a severe disease. However, they can also be prevented by practicing good oral healthcare. Brushing teeth twice, flossing once, using a very mild mouthwash, etc. daily habits help maintain good oral health in children.

1. Tooth decay or cavity

Tooth decay is a very common condition in children due to a heavy sugar diet and incorrect dental hygiene practices. Tooth decay begins with bacterial growth and plaque accumulation. The plaque, when exposed to certain foods, starts producing acids that eat away the teeth enamel. Carbohydrate and sugar-loaded diet only helps in further plaque build-up. It successfully creates a hole or cavity in the hard surface of the tooth, the enamel. Parents should assist their children in properly brushing their teeth for two to three minutes gently.

 A routine of brushing teeth before sleeping and after waking up will help prevent tooth decay. If you observe tooth decay in your child, reach your nearest dentist for proper treatment. When looking for symptoms, notice if your child complains about teeth sensitivity, toothache, and sharp pain while eating. If cavities are left untreated, they can reach and spread to the deeper parts of the tooth, rotting it all the way.

2. Sensitive teeth

If your child experiences discomfort while eating hot or cold foods and fluids, then they may have sensitive teeth. Children’s enamel is thinner and more delicate than that of adults that is why they are more likely to experience teeth sensitivity. Thinner enamel allows the acid and plaque to work its way easily into the tooth. It may cause the gums to recede, exposing the nerve endings. So, whenever your child consumes something hot or cold, these nerve endings are triggered and cause pain.

Sensitive teeth can be treated by a dentist and you can also look after them at home by yourself. For example, provide your child with a soft-bristled toothbrush or one made especially for children, prevent your child from eating foods that are not too hot or too cold, simply tell them to wait until the food temperature reaches normal room temperature, and lastly, use toothpastes especially manufactured for sensitive teeth. Make sure your child brushes the teeth gently and slowly.

3. Bad breath

Regardless of age, bad breath or halitosis can affect anyone. More than often, it is blamed on the food we consume. It is caused due to bacterial growth in the mouth which feeds over leftover food material. They produce hydrogen sulfide which is the major cause of the odour. In children, bad breath is mostly observed after waking up. If it is observed throughout the day you may want to contact your dentist as it is an indication of a larger issue.

4. Gum disease

The inflammation of the gum tissue is called gum disease or gingivitis and it is caused by poor oral hygiene as well as plaque build-up. It can lead to tooth loss and tooth decay. If you observe your child’s gums and they appear swollen and red, that may indicate your child is suffering from gum disease. You can reach out to your dentist for proper treatment.

5. Grinding of teeth

Some children have a habit of grinding their teeth, this condition is called bruxism. Children may do it either because their upper and lower set of teeth are not aligned with each other or they are experiencing some pain in teeth, gums, or even the ears. It is sometimes also a symptom of hyperactivity. If the habit prevails for a long time, it can harm the enamel of the teeth. Your child may be advised to wear a mouth guard during the night to prevent grinding.

6. Thumb sucking

Many babies, infants, and little children resort to thumb sucking during teething. It is not a cause of concern as this habit goes away on its own when the child turns a little older. However, it should be kept in mind that thumb sucking can interfere with the natural teething process and can cause misalignment of teeth. If the thumb sucking is too intense, it can affect milk teeth as well as permanent teeth. If thumb sucking continues beyond age four, children may encounter speech as well as oral problems. You can always reach out to your dentist to help your child break the habit.

7. Tooth loss

Due to the eruption of new permanent teeth, the milk tooth falls out. Each milk tooth is replaced by a strong, permanent, adult one. The cycle of tooth loss is painless.  If your child experiences pain during the falling of teeth, it may be a sign of trauma and injury. Children lose their first teeth by the age of six. Tooth loss earlier than usual can cause incomplete development of permanent teeth, it can hinder the new teeth’ growth. The new teeth may grow out to be brittle, misaligned, or sensitive. Most children grow out their full set of permanent teeth by the time they turn 13 years old.

8. Dental anxiety

Dental anxiety is a very real and horrible experience for some children. When children start to become frightened of dental procedures. As the child grows up, they may refrain from receiving necessary dental procedures due to dental anxiety. The longer a dental procedure is avoided, the more severe the resulting procedure becomes, such as a root canal. Paediatric dentists are specially trained for dental anxiety. It is recommended you take your child to a paediatric dentist as they will be able to create a welcoming atmosphere and help your child have a positive dental experience.

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