Everyone should pay attention to their oral health, but you might overlook your child's oral health. Even if your child still has their primary teeth, oral care is incredibly important to ensure good oral health and habits for life. If you would like to know more to better protect your child's oral health, check out these four common oral concerns for kids.
1. Tooth Decay
Everyone has to worry about tooth decay, including kids. In fact, according to the CDC, about 20 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, and children from low-income families are twice as likely to experience cavities when compared to children from higher-income households.
Many kids experience decay for many reasons. Some may be more prone to eating sugary snacks, and others may not brush their teeth adequately. However, in many cases, children experience tooth decay because they go to bed with a bottle. This leaves their teeth exposed to sugar for a long time, which can lead to baby bottle tooth decay.
Tooth decay can lead to pain and discomfort, but if left untreated, it can also lead to tooth infection or tooth loss. Luckily, tooth decay is easy to treat with a filling, and you can help your child avoid future decay with good brushing, flossing, and eating habits. You can also talk to your child's dentist about fluoride treatments and sealants. Fluoride strengthens the enamel to better protect against decay, and sealants act as a second barrier.
2. Orthodontic Issues
Your dentist can also help identify any orthodontic issues your child may have, so they can begin treatment early. Common orthodontic issues include a misaligned bite, crooked teeth, crowded teeth, rotated teeth, or gaps.
Orthodontic issues don't just affect self-esteem. Some conditions can cause uneven wear and tear on teeth, which puts more pressure on certain teeth, increasing the risk of damage. Other conditions like overcrowding can make it hard to keep teeth clean, increasing the risk of decay and infection.
If your child is a good candidate for orthodontia treatment, the dentist may recommend some procedures early, such as a palate expander.
Babies often suck their thumb to sooth themselves. However, as your child gets older, you need to stop thumb-sucking before it affects the teeth. The constant presence of the thumb can cause the front teeth to grow outward, leading to an open bite. With an open bite, even if you kid closes their teeth, the front top teeth and the front bottom teeth don't meet.
In some cases, the thumb-sucking causes an overbite. In this case, the upper teeth stick out over the bottom teeth too much. Both malocclusions can affect self-esteem, but they can also lead to jaw pain and other problems.
4. Early or Late Tooth Loss
Humans grow two sets of teeth. As a baby, your primary teeth erupt, but soon they all fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth. Even though your child only has the primary teeth for a few years, they are still incredibly important, so early or late tooth loss is problematic.
If your child loses a primary tooth too early, it can affect the path the permanent tooth takes when it erupts, which affects the alignment of the teeth. Similarly, if your child loses a tooth too late, the permanent tooth may not be able to grow correctly with the primary tooth in the way.
Caring for your child's teeth is important for many reasons. Not only does it help them now, but it will help them as adults too. If you would like to know more about common oral concerns for kids, or if you're ready to schedule an appointment for your kid, contact us at Youth Dental & Vision today.