3 Common Pediatric Oral Health Problems

Good oral health is important for people of all ages, and it is important to start taking care of your child's mouth and teeth from a very young age. There are a number of issues that can cause decay or damage to the alignment of the teeth. If you notice any of the following issues, consult your child's dentist for assistance in correcting the problem before it becomes severe:

Thumb Sucking

While it is normal (and cute!) for a young infant to suck on his thumb, it is a habit that can be harmful if it continues past the first few years of life. Thumb sucking places pressure and stress on the top front teeth, which can cause them to protrude and become misaligned. It is also possible for long term thumb sucking to result in an overbite that will need to be corrected through orthodontics. The main concern for dentists is children who continue to suck their thumbs as their baby teeth fall out and the permanent teeth begin growing in- the pressure on the permanent teeth can cause them to grow in crooked, and it is possible for the upper and lower jaw to become misaligned. If your child sucks his thumb, try positive reinforcement to break the habit.

Baby Bottle Decay

Suckling is a normal way for infants to soothe themselves, but it can become a problem when children fall asleep while nursing or drinking milk from a bottle. If an infant falls asleep with milk in his or her mouth, the liquid pools on the teeth and can lead to serious decay. Milk and other beverages, such as juice, have a high sugar content that bacteria feeds off of and causes cavities. If possible, don't let your infant get into the habit of needing a bottle to fall asleep, but if your child has already gotten used to a bottle at bedtime, fill it with water instead of juice or milk.

Tooth Loss at an Early Age

The most common causes of early tooth loss are decay, lack of jaw space, or injury. If your child loses one or more teeth before a permanent tooth is growing in, it is important to visit a dentist, such as Struk Oleh Allan Dr, for space maintainers, if needed, to make sure that permanent teeth can eventually grow in without alignment or space issues. Space maintainers are temporary dental devices, and they will be removed as soon as your child's permanent teeth begin to grow in.