Early Childhood Dental Issues and Signs
If you have very young children, it might be easy to overlook their dental health care until they get older. This can be a real mistake. You could overlook a number of early childhood dental issues, that if allowed to worsen over time, could lead to more serious complications. Here’s a closer look at some early childhood dental issues and some signs to watch out for.
#1: Baby bottle tooth decay
You might think that the only way a person can get a cavity is by eating a lot of sweet, sugary foods over a long period of time. As a result, how is it possible that a young toddler might already have signs of tooth decay? The key is to realize that frequent, prolonged contact with sugary drinks – including milk and formula – may lead to the early degradation of teeth.
Thus, if you notice your small toddler falling asleep with a bottle of formula in their mouth, or if they are constantly keeping the bottle in their mouth when they aren’t hungry, that might be an early warning sign. Also keep in mind – most juices are also relatively high in sugar. That means giving your young child juice on a frequent basis might also lead to tooth decay.
#2: Thumb or pacifier sucking
While it’s perfectly normal for children to engage in thumb sucking or pacifier sucking at a very early age, if you notice this behavior past the age of 5, it could be a signal of potential problems ahead. That’s because the sucking motion will eventually cause the upper and lower jaws to move out of alignment. If left to persist for too long, it could lead to a serious overbite problem.
#3: Tongue thrusting
This type of motion – in which the tongue is pushed toward the lips during swallowing –leads to problems. In a worst-case scenario, it might lead to the front teeth being pushed out of alignment. That’s particularly true if the thrusting motion is very sudden or violent – it will have the impact of pushing against the front teeth as well.
#4: Unexpected tooth loss
Yes, all children will eventually lose their first set of teeth. But if you notice early tooth loss, that could be a bad sign. What may be happening is that a diet high in sugary foods is causing a deterioration or weakening of the teeth. The mouth will break down those sugars, and they will eventually turn into acids that work to erode teeth. So keep a close eye on your child’s diet.
#5: Any chipped or broken teeth
Young kids love to play, and some of them may not yet realize their own strength. As a result, there’s always the risk of a chipped or broken tooth. If the tooth eventually falls out after being weakened, you might need to put in a space maintainer until the new tooth grows in.
The biggest takeaway lesson here is that it is possible to prevent tooth decay. Keep an eye on your child’s behavior, and an even closer eye on their diet. Even some foods that you may think are perfectly healthy – like fruit juices – might actually be very high in sugars that deteriorate teeth over time.