Children typically are not as adamant about taking care of their teeth and gums as adults are, so it is vital to keep your kid's oral health in check. Even if your child still has his baby teeth, teaching him good dental health habits will be beneficial to his overall well-being. You should first learn about common dental problems that affect children and what you can do to prevent them.
Although it is perfectly normal for babies to suck their thumb, children should not continue this habit past the age 5. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your child sucks his thumb after his permanent teeth come in, it can push the teeth out of alignment. It is important to talk to your child about the negative effects of thumb sucking and encourage him to stop. If you think your kid is sucking his thumb because of stress, you should determine the cause of his anxiety and help him deal with the issue. If your child still can't quit this habit, his dentist may give him a mouth guard that prevents thumb sucking.
Although anyone can get cavities, it tends to be more common among children. According to Everyday Health, one of the main culprits of cavities in kids are poor brushing habits. It is a good idea to stand by your child and see if he is brushing teeth correctly or not. If he is not brushing long enough or missing spots, teach him proper brushing habits. Children are also more likely to experience cavities if they eat sticky candies and other sweets frequently. Try to limit the amount of sweets your child has, and have him rinse with water after he eats something sugary.
In addition, tell your child to never share his utensils or drinking cups with anyone, as this can spread cavity-causing bacteria.
Bruxism, also known as tooth grinding, is another dental problem that some children experience. If your kid constantly clenches down on his teeth, he can wear down the enamel and make his pearly whites susceptible to chips and cracks. If you think your child's bruxism is a nervous habit, help him develop healthy ways to deal with stress. A custom mouth guard may be necessary if your child involuntary grinds his teeth at night.
Tongue thrusting involves pushing the top of the tongue against the lips and can do damage over time. If your child frequently thrusts his tongue, he could wear down his front teeth, pushing them out of alignment. This habit can lead to an overbite, improper speech and even trouble eating.
Another common dental problem in children is tooth trauma. When your child plays a sport or runs around with his friends at the playground, he can bump his tooth on something and chip it. If your child's tooth gets knocked out, you should rinse the tooth off and try to put it back in its socket immediately. Then, call the dentist and see if he can see your child immediately. The dentist may be able to bond the tooth. If your child plays sports regularly, have him wear a mouth guard to protect his teeth from trauma.
As you can see, your child can experience a number of dental problems at his young age. However, if you teach your kid good oral hygiene habits and encourage him to protect his teeth, his pearly whites will remain healthy and strong. Even if your child's teeth appear perfectly healthy, remember to take him to a pediatric dentist for a checkup every six months.Share