dental problems

Common Dental Problems In Children And How To Avoid Them

February 26, 2023

Children often struggle with the same dental problems as many adults. However, during the various developmental stages that children go to, untreated dental issues can lead to long-term poor oral health and misaligned teeth.

Creating good oral health habits and addressing issues as they arise is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. For example, we all know kids can struggle with brushing their teeth and flossing, leading to oral health issues.

We will discuss some common dental problems and children, give you ideas on how to prevent them, and give tips for keeping your children’s teeth healthy and strong.

Most Common Dental Problems In Children

Here are some of the most common dental issues that children struggle with, and many of them are preventable by maintaining good oral health practices.

#1. Tooth Decay and Cavities

One of the most common dental issues in children is tooth decay in cavities. According to the CDC, it is common for 13% – 20% of children in the United States to suffer from tooth decay. When left untreated, tooth decay and cavities may cause infection, tooth pain, and discomfort, impacting chewing, speaking, and quality of life.

The causes of tooth decay and cavities and how to prevent it in children include the following:

  • Bad Bacteria. The harmful bacteria produce acid, and when mixed with your children’s saliva, it forms plaque that sticks to their teeth. When the bacteria is not brushed away, it leads to cavities in the acids that will eat away at the protective tooth enamel, which puts your children’s teeth at a higher risk for developing tooth decay. 
  • Poor oral hygiene. Inconsistent or poor brushing and flossing practices. Parents need to support children by helping them with brushing and flossing correctly to remove bacteria, food, and plaque.
  • Diet. Eating foods with starches or sugars that feed bacteria in the mouth and leave a sugary film on the children’s teeth leads to higher levels of harmful bacteria.

#2. Sensitive Teeth

Many people experience tooth sensitivity, which can be uncomfortable and painful. Various issues cause sensitive teeth in children, and regular dental checkups are essential to maintain good oral health. Some of the things that cause tooth sensitivity include:

  • Having a cracked or missing filling or tooth
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • When a child grinds their teeth, also known as bruxism
  • Acid erosion and enamel wear
  • Cavities and tooth decay
  • Nail biting

There are several options to help reduce tooth sensitivity, and booking an appointment with your child’s dentist as soon as possible is essential.

#3. Pediatric Gingivitis and Gum Disease

Children can experience gingivitis leading to gum disease when left untreated. If your child is experiencing any bleeding during brushing, flossing, or red and swollen gums, consult their dentist immediately.

Poor oral hygiene contributes significantly more to children with gum disease, which includes gum recession, swelling, and pain in the mouth. However, most of the time, gingivitis and gum disease can easily be avoided with a solid routine of your child brushing and flossing regularly.

#4. Halitosis or Bad Breath

Many people have bad breath occasionally; however, if your child continually suffers from bad breath, also known as halitosis, there’s usually a deeper issue. Halitosis comes from bacteria building up in your mouth; it continually feasts on excess plaque and food and emits a smelly odor called hydrogen sulfide. There are various causes of halitosis, including poor oral hygiene, digestive issues, dry mouth, and some medications. One of the best ways to avoid having bad breath is to use good oral hygiene practices and have your children’s teeth cleaned regularly by your dentist.

#5. Prolonged Thumb Sucking

Babies and toddlers often suck their thumbs for comfort; however, if the child sucks their thumb past five, it can negatively impact their oral development. In addition, children with strong thumbsucking behavior risk damaging their baby or permanent teeth.

#6. Children Who Grind Their Teeth

Teeth grinding does not require treatment; your child’s teeth can become worn if it continues. Your dentist may prescribe a night guard to prevent teeth from grinding at night. The common symptoms associated with teeth grinding or headaches, jaw pain, and sensitivity.

#7. Baby Teeth Don’t Fall Out

Occasionally, a child’s baby teeth don’t fall out. Some causes include damage, infection, jaw misalignment, no permanent tooth to replace the baby tooth, obstructions, and oral pathology. If you have a child who is not losing their baby teeth, it can lead to tooth decay. Your dentist can help by removing the baby tooth to allow the adult tooth to grow and move.

#8. Yellow Teeth On Children

there can be a few reasons kids’ have yellow teeth, such as:

  • An adult tooth coming in next to a baby tooth will appear darker because the enamel on a baby tooth is much thinner. Adult teeth have more dentin, making the tooth appear more yellow than a baby tooth. Certain foods such as sauces, drinks, or food with a lot of dyes can lead to discoloration of your child’s teeth
  • A tooth injury can lead to your child developing a yellow tooth 
  • Genetics can also influence the color and health of your child’s teeth. For example, if your child’s tooth enamel is thin, their teeth may appear more yellow. Unfortunately, children with thin tooth enamel are also at a higher risk for tooth decay.

#9. Infection and Dental Injury

Anyone can end up with a tooth infection or dental injury, and children are no different. Dental infections are prevalent in children, and regular visits to your children’s dentist can help maintain your child’s healthy teeth, mitigate the risk of infection and catch issues early.

Children are active, and accidents happen. Kids can crack, break or chip a tooth from bike riding, playing around, or even falling while walking. Dental emergencies are usually unavoidable; however, ensuring your child wears a mouthguard when participating in sports will help reduce the risk of damaging their teeth.

Carrie Muzny DDs, High-Quality Family Dentistry In The Woodlands Area

At Carrie Muzny DDS, our team of experts offers professional and caring dental services, from preventative dentistry for the whole family, cosmetic and restorative procedures, surgeries, and professional teeth whitening.

Our exceptionally trained dentists practice modern techniques and compassion to ensure you receive the best care and leave with a smile you love. Contact us today to book an appointment or consultation.

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