While most parents worry about their children's dental habits once they start losing teeth, many dental problems start much earlier. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in the United States, one out of five kids between the ages of 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, and one out of seven kids between the ages of 12-19 also have one untreated decayed tooth. The damage can start as early as infancy. Most parents know about cavities, but here are some less well known dental problems that commonly affect children.
Baby Bottle Cavities
Baby bottle cavities are often found in the upper front teeth but in some cases, other teeth can be infected as well. There are a few things that can lead to baby bottle cavities, but the most common one is prolonged exposure of the teeth to the sugar in breast milk, formula, or sweet drinks.
Tongue thrusting occurs when children thrust their tongue against the lips, forcing them to seal their lips. This habit puts pressure on the front of the teeth and forces them out of alignment. When the teeth get out of line, they will start to protrude which can create an overbite and may even affect speech development.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for many kids, as it makes them feel secure and content. The problem occurs after a child's permanent come in since thumb sucking can impair the growth and alignment of the teeth. Children who vigorously engage in thumb sucking will have more dental issues than children who casually rest their thumb in their mouth.
Malocclusion is also known as bad bite and is a dental concern in which the teeth are either crooked, out of alignment or crowded. It can also be the case when the jaws do not properly align. This condition is most common in children ages 6-12, when their permanent teeth start to come in. If this condition is not taken care of early on, malocclusion can increase the risk of gum disease and cavities.
The gums in our mouths have the job of taking care of the bone keeping teeth together. It is important to properly care for your gums in order to provide for a healthy mouth. Tartar can form on the gums when plaque is not removed from the gum area by brushing teeth. However, it is important to note that you cannot get rid of tartar just with teeth brushing alone. Gum disease can also be prevented with regular dental visits for routine cleanings.
Dental problems are frightening for both children and their parents. Armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can help your children prevent these problems from happening and ensure excellent dental health for you kids. For further assistance, contact a local dentist, such as one from Kappenman Family Dental.