Oral Health Issues in Children


Dr.Saket Gaurav
B.D.S.(India), PGD.Ortho, PGDAD(Cosmetic)
International Dental Practitioner

Most of us think that baby teeth are not as important as the adult teeth because baby teeth will be eventually replaced by the adult teeth, but it is still very important to care and monitor the oral health in children also. It is something very important to their general well being. A number of issues can affect the oral health of children and if not taken care at the right time may lead to serious oral health problems.

The most common oral health issues in children:

Tooth Decay: Also known as childhood tooth decay is the number one and most common dental issues. Tooth decay can cause pain, infection and even affect your child’s growth. Fortunately, it is a preventable disease. Limiting the consumption of certain foods that can leave sugars on the surface of the teeth such as candy, soft drinks and cookies or brushing the child’s teeth after consumption can prevent tooth decay.

Thumb Sucking: Many children suck their thumbs as a habit. In most cases this isn’t cause for concern, as children usually stop sucking their thumbs naturally once they grow up but if children continue this habit after their first teeth begin to appear, this can affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw.

Nursing bottle caries: This is a form of tooth decay that occurs in very young children. This mostly affects the group of teeth mostly front teeth. This develops due to prolonged exposure to milk or sugary liquids in babies or toddlers especially at bedtime. Make sure that after feeding babies you rinse their mouth at least with water.

Over-retained primary (baby) teeth: If a child’s permanent tooth begins erupting in the same space as their primary tooth that has not fallen out yet, it is important to address this issue as soon as possible.

Grinding (Bruxism): The grinding of teeth is a common developmental condition occurring in childhood that is often involuntary. Most children tend to stop grinding their teeth as they age, but if they don’t, they can cause wear on their teeth or even crack them.

Teaching your child proper oral care at a young age is very important that will pay lifelong. You can start by setting an example by taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued. And anything that makes taking care of teeth fun, like brushing along with your child or letting them choose their own toothbrush, encourages proper oral care. To help your children protect their teeth and gums and greatly reduce their risk of getting cavities, teach them to follow these simple steps:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque-the sticky film on teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack-the extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from the mouth.
  • Fruit juice and fruit drinks are not recommended for infants under 12 months.
  • Give fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Chewing stimulates saliva which protects teeth against decay.
  • Water and milk are the best drinks.
  • Limit sugary drinks including: soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, vitamin waters, fruit drinks and energy drinks between meals.
  • Make sure that your children’s drinking water is fluoridated.
  • Take your child to the dentist every six months for regular checkup

Make sure you keep a check on your child’s oral health. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. If you notice any above mentioned issues visit your dentist for a check and take his opinion on the issue and get it treated.

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