Pediatric Dental Care: Addressing Common Dental Issues in Children

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Regarding children’s oral health, preventing problems and taking action early on are important to ensure they have healthy smiles for life. Common dental issues can greatly affect their overall well-being. That’s where pediatric dental care comes in, providing specialized methods to prevent and treat these issues in children.

Pediatric dental care focuses on meeting the specific needs of young patients, offering complete oral healthcare from infancy through adolescence. Pediatric dentists receive special training to understand how children’s teeth develop, their behaviour, and it affects their oral health. Expertise and a gentle approach should create a comforting environment where children feel at ease and well-cared for during dental visits.

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Top 6 Common Dental Issues in Children

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is popularly called cavities or dental caries. It is a common dental problem in children. It happens when harmful bacteria in the mouth make acids that slowly damage the protective layer of the tooth called enamel. This usually occurs when kids eat sugary foods, don’t take good care of their teeth, or don’t see a dentist regularly.

Tooth decay can have serious consequences. As the enamel wears away, tiny holes or cavities form in the tooth. If left untreated, these cavities can get bigger and reach the teeth. This can cause tooth sensitivity, pain, and even infection.

How to Address Tooth Decay?

The good news is that there are ways to deal with tooth decay in children. Regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing, and eating a healthy diet can be good solutions. Children should visit the dentist every six months for check-ups and cleanings. These visits help catch any signs of tooth decay early so they can be treated quickly.

Children should brush their teeth using toothpaste that contains fluoride at least two times a day and floss daily. Parents should provide guidance and supervision during brushing until their children can effectively perform the task independently. Parents must limit the intake of sugary snacks and beverages in order to decrease the chances of tooth decay.

2. Gingivitis

Gingivitis, characterized by swollen and red gums, is a prevalent dental issue among children. It occurs when proper oral hygiene practices are neglected. Inadequate brushing allows plaque, a sticky bacterial substance, to accumulate near the gum line, ultimately leading to the development of gingivitis over time.

Children affected by gingivitis may experience symptoms such as swollen, red, and tender gums. Brushing or flossing can result in bleeding gums, and they may also suffer from bad breath. Address gingivitis promptly since ignoring it can potentially lead to the progression of more severe gum diseases.

How to Address Gingivitis?

Luckily, there are ways to treat gingivitis in children. The first step is improving oral hygiene habits. Parents should encourage kids to brush their teeth well at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. 

Kids should also be encouraged to floss every day. Flossing helps remove food particles between teeth and along the gumline, stopping the bacteria from building up. Parents can show their children how to floss correctly and supervise until they can do it independently.

Regular visits to the pediatric dentists are important for dealing with gingivitis. Children should visit the dentist every six months for professional cleanings and check-ups. 

Encouraging a balanced diet also helps prevent and manage gingivitis. Limiting sugary snacks and drinks is good because they fuel bacteria more.

3.Tooth Eruption Problems

Tooth eruption problems are common among kids and can cause issues when teeth don’t come out in the right order or position. Sometimes, there’s a delay, which means the teeth take longer to come through the gums than expected. Other times, teeth can get stuck and not fully come out because other teeth, bones, or soft tissue block the way.

These problems with tooth eruption can affect a child’s oral health. When teeth don’t come out in the right order or position, it can lead to problems like crowded teeth, crookedness, or difficulty keeping the mouth clean. Crowded teeth happen when there’s not enough room for all the teeth to fit nicely, making them crooked or crowded. 

How to Address Tooth Eruption Problems?

The good news is that there are ways to deal with tooth eruption problems in children. The first step is to monitor a child’s dental development and spot any potential issues early on. Regular visits to the dentist are important during childhood to keep track of how the teeth are coming in and to catch any problems. 

Sometimes, tooth eruption problems can improve over time without needing treatment. But if help is needed, the dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics involves using special things like braces or aligners to guide the teeth into their proper places. These things gently push the teeth and move them slowly into the right positions.

Oral surgery might be necessary in more serious cases of tooth eruption problems. For example, if a tooth is stuck and can’t come out naturally, the dentist or oral surgeon might have to remove the thing blocking it or do surgery to help the tooth come out properly.

4. Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habits

Thumb sucking and using pacifiers are common habits among children. However, if these habits continue for a long time, they can negatively affect teeth growth. Both thumb sucking and pacifier use can cause problems with how teeth line up, how the jaw develops, and even the shape of the roof of the mouth.

When children suck their thumb or use a pacifier, it puts pressure on their growing teeth and jaw. This pressure can make the teeth crooked or misaligned over time. It can also affect how the jaw grows, leading to problems with how the teeth fit together when biting or chewing. Having these in the mouth all the time can even change the mouth roof’s shape.

How to Address Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habits?

Most children naturally stop thumb-sucking and pacifier habits between 2 and 4. But if the habits continue after that, it’s important to take steps to break them and reduce their impact on dental development.

Keep your child’s hands and mouth busy with other activities to distract them from thumb-sucking or pacifier use. Introduce them to other comfort objects, like a favourite toy or blanket. This helps your child transition away from thumb-sucking or pacifier use.

5.Malocclusion

Misalignment or incorrect positioning of teeth is called malocclusion. It is a common dental problem among children. It can cause dental issues like difficulty biting, chewing, speaking, and oral health problems.

This can show up in different ways. Some children may have crowded teeth, where there isn’t enough space for all the teeth to fit well. Other children may have gaps between their teeth where there is too much space. Malocclusion can also involve problems with how the upper and lower jaws fit together, resulting in an improper bite.

These misalignments can have various effects. Difficulty biting and chewing food can affect digestion and getting nutrients from food. Speech problems, like lisps or trouble saying certain sounds, can happen. Malocclusion can also affect a child’s self-confidence and interactions with others.

How to Address Malocclusion?

Dealing with malocclusion in children involves taking preventive measures and considering different treatments. Detecting and treating malocclusion is important for effective management.

Parents can check their children for orthodontic devices like braces or clear aligners. This can gradually move the teeth into the right positions. But in severe crowding, removing teeth may be necessary to make enough space to properly align the remaining teeth.

6. Bruxism

Bruxism is when children grind or clench their teeth, often while sleeping. This habit can harm their oral health and overall well-being. Grinding or clenching teeth can damage the tooth surfaces, leading to cracks, fractures, or even tooth loss. It can also cause tooth and jaw discomfort. 

How to Address Bruxism?

Parents should watch for signs like grinding sounds during sleep or complaints of jaw pain in the morning. Create a calm environment to reduce teeth grinding. Teaching relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or calming activities before bedtime, may help.

Dentists might suggest using special devices, like a night guard or splint, to protect the teeth and relieve symptoms. These are custom-made mouthguards worn while sleeping to prevent grinding and minimize dental damage.

Sometimes, bruxism is caused or worsened by teeth that are not aligned properly. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or aligners, can also help.

Visit the Trusted General Dentistry for Children in Maple Ridge

Knowing about common dental problems is the first thing to do to fix them properly. But getting help from a professional dentist for the right diagnosis and treatment is just as important. 

Effectively deal with common dental problems in children by getting professional dental care. For reliable services and complete care, consider visiting the trusted pediatric dentistry at Maple Ridge. 

At Westgate Dental Centre, our skilled team is committed to providing exceptional dental treatment and ensuring your child’s oral health and well-being. Take the next step for your child’s dental well-being by scheduling a visit to our clinic today.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should start taking your child to the dentist early, ideally by their first birthday or when their first tooth appears. Early dental visits help establish good oral health habits and allow the dentist to monitor your child’s oral development. Thus providing preventive care and addressing any concerns that may arise.

Common dental issues in children include:

 

Cavities

To avoid cavities, ensure your child brushes and flosses regularly and limits sugary snacks and drinks. Dentist check-ups can catch and treat cavities early.

Tooth Decay

Dentists might suggest fluoride treatments or dental sealants for added protection.

Misaligned Teeth

Fix misaligned teeth with braces, retainers, or other orthodontic tools. Starting early can be helpful, so talk to a kids’ dentist or orthodontist if you’re worried about your child’s teeth.

Regular dental visits are necessary for finding and treating these issues early. And don’t forget, teaching your child good brushing and eating habits can help prevent these common dental problems.

Regular Brushing

Make sure your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste appropriate for their age. Show them the right way to brush, using gentle, circular motions, and make it a fun and consistent part of their daily routine.

Flossing

Teach your child to floss between their teeth to remove left food particles and plaque a toothbrush can’t reach. Start as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Use child-friendly flossing tools or floss picks to make it easier for them.

Limit Sugary Snacks and Drinks

Encourage healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Limit sugary treats and drinks like candy, soda, and fruit juices. If they have sweets, it’s best to have them with a meal rather than as a standalone snack.

Balanced Diet

Ensure your child gets fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. These provide essential nutrients for strong teeth and gums.

Hydration

Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day. Water helps rinse away food particles and tooth bacteria.

Supervise and Assist

Young children may need supervision and assistance with brushing and flossing to ensure they do a thorough job. As they get older, teach them to be independent but continue to monitor their oral care habits.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is common in children and often occurs during deep sleep or when they experience stress. While most children outgrow it, persistent grinding may wear down tooth enamel and lead to discomfort. If you notice your child grinding their teeth, discuss it with their dentist. They may recommend a night guard to protect the teeth or strategies to reduce stress and anxiety before bedtime.

Teething can lead to mild irritability, drooling, and a tendency to chew on hard objects. Some children may experience discomfort or pain. To ease your child’s teething discomfort, offer them a teething ring or a clean, chilled (not frozen) washcloth to chew on. 

 

Gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger can also be soothing. If your child is in significant discomfort, consult your pediatric dentist or physician for recommended pain relief methods.

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