common concerns about your childs teeth

As a parent, you want the best for your child. Unfortunately, there are oral health problems that frequently affect children. Familiarising yourself with these issues not only helps you protect your child but also help them when such problems arise. Here are the most common concerns about your child’s teeth.

Orthodontic problems

Sometimes, a certain level of intervention is needed for a child to have well-aligned teeth. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary to give your child a bright smile as well as correct and bite issues that, if left untreated, may cause problems when they are older. Most of the orthodontic issues that may arise are as a result of genetics. This explains why your child could have an under or overbite. When your child is about seven or eight years old it is prudent that you book the first orthodontic appointment. The ultimate objective is to identify any underlying issues and fix them before they become serious.

Baby bottle tooth decay / nursing caries

Babies developing tooth decay soon after their teeth come out is a sad reality and quite common. But what causes it? If you expose your child to sugary foods and drinks, you increase the likelihood of this happening. What you may not know is that milk could also cause this. Fortunately, you can do something to prevent this from happening. For instance, cleaning your child’s gum with gauze or clean cloth can keep baby bottle decay at bay. Additionally, you can start brushing your child’s teeth gently with a baby toothbrush and a little bit of fluoride as soon as they come out. Letting your baby sleep with their bottle in their mouth increases the contact time of milk with teeth leading to decay – a process called nursing caries. This can result in your child needing multiple extractions of baby teeth at a very young age.

Retained primary (baby) teeth

Children’s teeth are expected to become loose over time. And when they become loose enough, you can remove them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, leading to retained teeth. This can prevent the permanent tooth from coming through or else may lead to the permanent tooth erupting on either side of the baby tooth. What happens is that the primary tooth is awkwardly pushed out. Eventually, the retained tooth may lead to misalignment, obstruction, and so on. Such a tooth is also susceptible to cavities and other problems. A retained baby tooth may also be a sign that the permanent tooth is missing (has not formed). In such cases it is extremely important to keep the baby tooth as healthy as possible to prolong its lifespan.

Dentists are well trained and well-equipped to treat retained teeth. They may opt to remove it or use braces to correct any resulting misalignments if the permanent tooth is trapped beneath.

If your child has retained teeth, seek advice from your dentist.

Pediatric gingivitis and gum disease

Poor dental hygiene is the number cause of gum disease and gingivitis in adults and children. The bad news is that this problem could lead to tooth loss and bone damage if not addressed. If your child’s gums bleed easily, and they are red and swollen, this could be a sign of gingivitis. You can also look out for bad breath as it is also a strong indicator of gingivitis. When your child exhibits any of these symptoms, you should take them to the dentist as soon as possible. Although in most cases it is a result of poor brushing, it is always good to eliminate other potential problems.

Sensitive teeth

dental health for children at savina dental clinics malta and gozo

Both kids and adults can experience tooth sensitivity. The difference is that as an adult, you can express your problem better. Nonetheless, children are also susceptible to sensitive teeth. When children have this problem, they may not notice what is happening. You can tell that your child has tooth sensitivity if they react whenever they eat something cold or hot.

Tooth sensitivity is not a problem when the child’s teeth are exposed to extremely cold foods. But if it’s a persistent issue, it could be pointing out other underlying dental problems such as an inflamed nerve. If you suspect that your child has sensitive teeth, it is wise to book a dentist appointment for them.

Grinding

Grinding, also known as bruxism, is another common concern in children. Mostly, this problem will affect school-age children. Bruxism could emanate from the misalignment of teeth. Other causes include pain during an earache or teething. Most of the time, bruxism in children stops as they grow older. In some cases, it may persist. When this happens, it can wear out the child’s teeth. And besides causing other dental issues, the child may experience frequent headaches as a result of grinding. Dental experts recommend night guards for children who struggle with bruxism that persists. A pediatric dentist is best suited to help children who grind their teeth.

Tongue thrusting

A tongue thrust is a common problem that affects children. Normally, the tongue will push between the teeth when your child is resting or eating. As such, the child cannot use the mouth muscles correctly. Eventually, this may cause speech and dental problems. This disorder may also lead to a high palate, resting of the tongue at the wrong place, and a food chewing problem. If your child still has this problem even after attaining the age of six, you should take them to the dentist. The symptoms include the tongue sticking out when talking, resting, and swallowing.

Excess thumb sucking

It is normal for most children to suck their thumbs. However, if they do it often and for a prolonged period, there could be a problem. By the time your child is celebrating the fifth birthday, this habit should be long gone. Otherwise, it can interfere with the alignment of your child’s teeth or affect the roof of their mouth. Moreover, excessive thumb sucking can affect permanent teeth causing an open bite, and this is not something that you would want for your little one.

In most cases, your child’s dental development will go well.  Most issues that may come along will resolve themselves as the child gets older. If this doesn’t happen, your child will need a pediatric dentist.

As a parent, it is important to take interest in your child’s oral health. Whenever you notice anything unsettling, seek more guidance from the dentist. This will help them to identify and treat any underlying issues that may lead to serious dental problems as early as possible. With the above information, you now know the things that may cause alarm when it comes to your kid’s oral health and what to do.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.