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Identify Common Dental Health Problems in Your Children

Child Thumb Suck

Many parents automatically assume that their children's baby teeth don't need regular care and attention because they will eventually fall out. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The truth is, the sooner you start caring for your child's teeth, the easier it will be to encourage them to develop sound oral care habits when they are older.

Children are not immune to oral health problems. It is important to keep a close eye on what's going on inside their mouths as early as possible. Here are some common problems that occur and some simple solutions for avoiding them:

  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

    • Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when a child's teeth come in frequent contact with sugars from fruit juices, milk, formula and even breast milk. As the liquids break down in the mouth, bacteria begins to feed on the sugars causing tooth decay. This could potentially damage baby teeth causing permanent teeth to grow in crowded or crooked. In extreme cases, baby bottle tooth decay can cause serious infections.
    • In order to prevent baby bottle tooth decay, avoid giving your child sugar liquids, substituting plain water in the bottle or trying a pacifier instead. Use a wet cloth to wipe your child's teeth and gums after each feeding
  • Thumb Sucking

    • Thumb sucking during infancy is perfectly fine, but if a child is still sucking his or her thumb by the age of 5, it can result in problems when permanent teeth come in. Thumb sucking can push teeth out of alignment, creating an overbite. It can also affect pronunciation of words, and even misalignment of the jaw.
    • Children will almost always stop thumb sucking on their own, but if it persists, parents need to determine why the child refuses to stop. In some cases, a dental appliance that is cemented onto the roof of the mouth is necessary, making it more difficult for the child to continue thumb sucking.
  • Early Tooth Loss

    • Some children might lose their teeth early due to decay or lack of jaw space in their mouths. Premature loss of baby teeth can affect permanent teeth because if there is not enough room for the permanent teeth to emerge, they will grow in crooked or misaligned due to the lack of space.
    • If your child loses his or her baby teeth too early, it is important to consult a children dentist to determine whether your child needs a "space maintainer" to hold the spaces open to give permanent teeth a chance to come in properly. The device is removed once permanent teeth begin coming in.

The best person to consult about your child's oral health is a Pediatric Dentist. Check our listing to find one in your area who will help your ensure your child grows up with healthy teeth and gums.