At Denta Service, we understand that oral care is just as important for children as it is for adults. Setting healthy standards for your child’s dental hygiene is up to us as parents, so it’s important to take note of their teeth or any changes. Our Epping dentist provides pediatric dentistry that will help to set positive oral hygiene habits that will help kids for life!
Children experience dental problems that require simple solutions to help. We believe that healthy dental habits need to begin early on. Here are some of the most common problems found in children and some tips to avoid them.
Thumb sucking is a normal and healthy habit in young children however concerns can arise if this habit continues. Dental problems which arise from thumb sucking can begin to occur after the age of 3-4. When children suck their thumbs, this causes the teeth alignment to be pushed out which causes them to stick out, creating an overbite and potentially causing speech problems in the future. Misalignment will affect how your child’s teeth and jaw grows once their permanent teeth begin to appear.
If you’re concerned about this habit in your child:
- Offer encouragement to your child to reinforce them to stop, thumb sucking is often a self-soothing mechanism.
- Use distractions such as toys to entertain and distract them.
- Track your child’s progress if they can go a certain period without sucking their thumb and offer rewards as an incentive.
- Identifying a trigger is also really important. As a practice that soothes children, working out what is causing this stress is important to try and fix the problem.
Baby bottle tooth decay
The most common type of tooth decay in children is baby bottle tooth decay, also known as ‘nursing caries’. This kind of tooth decay results from feeding your child sugary drinks, mostly through baby bottles. Exposing children to any liquid or food other than water on a regular basis can eventually cause tooth decay. Most parents will put their kids to bed with a bottle of milk, or some juice to entertain them during the day, however, they are not aware of the harm that this is causing to their teeth. Decayed teeth can cause painful infections and in some severe cases, the tooth may need to be extracted.
- Avoid giving your children any drinks at bedtime, the liquids will stay in their mouths overnight which increases the chance of decay.
- Set healthy habits for your children by helping them to take care of their teeth. Washing their gums with a clean cloth when they are still young or once their teeth have started to grow, start brushing them twice a day for a couple of minutes.
- Make small changes in your child’s diet. Try to avoid the consumption of sugary drinks and sweet foods. Start by slowly diluting the bottle with water and gradually move to water only.
- Try to minimise the use of the bottles once they can use a cup. Liquids are less likely to stay in the mouth when using a normal cup.
Early tooth loss
The most common causes of early tooth loss result from injuries, tooth decay, or a lack of space for the teeth to grow. Losing a tooth before permanent teeth have come in means that the new tooth may appear crooked due to the shifting of nearby teeth. Once again, this causes alignment issues which can interfere with chewing and speech development.
Contact our Epping dentist if your child loses a tooth prematurely, we will be able to recommend the proper needs for your child such as a temporary space maintainer.
Lip sucking and tongue thrusting
These two habits are both normal reflexes in small children, which are usually outgrown. If this habit doesn’t fade it can cause similar issues to thumb sucking including overbites and can potentially hinder children’s speech development. The solutions to these habits involve the same methods to stop thumb sucking. Positive reinforcement and encouragement will help to stop your child from these habits.
Teeth grinding is another common dental problem in children. This nasty habit gradually wears the teeth down and causes dental damage but is often outgrown. Check out our blog post all about teeth grinding in more detail here.
We take children’s dental health seriously at Denta Service. If you try out these tricks to help fix some of these dental problems with no luck, visit our website or give us a call on 9401 2120 to book an appointment for any concerns about your children’s teeth.
Image credit: Kazuend on Unsplash.