5 Common Dental Problems in Toddlers

Children love to eat sweets, particularly chocolates. This often leads to a host of dental problems. Learn about 5 common dental problems in pre-schoolers.

By Ashwin Dewan

5 Common Dental Problems in Toddlers

There are several problems that affect the oral health of your little one. Tooth decay, early tooth loss, cavities, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, bad breath, grinding, and gum disease are some dental problems that children have.

Parents should realise that what they might dismiss as simple problems like simple tooth decay or bad breath might, in fact, result in much bigger problems such as infections of the teeth, problems while eating food, speech development problems and others.

Let us take a look at the common dental problems in toddlers:

1) Tooth decay

Tooth decay often finds itself as a serious oral problem that, if left untreated, could cause severe dental complications. Often, prolonged instances of tooth decay result in eating and speaking problems in children. Also, known as caries, tooth decay is preventable.

Foods rich in carbohydrate such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on the teeth. These deposits, in turn, combine with the bacteria that are present in the mouth to form plaque resulting in tooth decay.

Parents should start taking their children to the dentist from an early age so that dentists can identify and resolve the issue in an effective manner. The dentist will clean up the child’s teeth and teach some healthy practices like proper brushing and flossing.

Note: Tooth decay in babies is also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing bottle syndrome.

2) Early tooth loss

Children often lose teeth from decay or due to injury. Sometimes, if baby teeth are lost before permanent teeth are yet to erupt, it can cause teeth to shift from their normal course of path leading to misalignment of both the baby and permanent tooth. If ignored, the remaining teeth could crowd into the space intended for the permanent tooth.

Note: Nutrition plays an important role in dental health. Parents should also ensure their children maintain proper oral habits from an early age.

3) Sensitive teeth

Continuous consumption of sugary foods, carbonated drinks and sweets can lead to sensitive teeth in children. Toddlers with sensitive teeth often experience pain in their teeth while having hot or cold food.

Over time, tooth enamel wears down, gums recede and teeth start to develop cracks. This exposes the interior of the tooth and causes irritation of the nerve endings.

Note: If your child suffers from tooth sensitivity, parents could opt for special toothpastes, fluoride varnishes, restorations, and even nightguards to combat the problem.

4) Gum disease

In simple terms, gum disease is a condition where the gum line is inflamed. It is a condition caused by bacteria and food particles that build up on teeth and form plaque. If not treated properly, this condition can deteriorate to affect the bone that surround and support the teeth.

Normally, there are three stages:

• Gingivitis

• Periodontitis

• Advanced periodontitis

Of these three, chronic gingivitis is common in children. Gingivitis causes the gum tissue to swell, turn red and often leads to bleeding.

Note: Gum disease can be prevented and children must be taught to brush and floss daily.

5) Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a serious dental problem that should be treated early in children. Many children grind their teeth while sleeping, which leads to erosion of the tooth enamel.

Toddlers outgrow this habit as they grow older. Some ill effects of grinding include:

• It can gradually wear away the primary and permanent teeth.

• Cause dental or muscular pain.

• Can disturb the sleep habits of the child.

Note: Parents can take their toddler to the dentist if he continues to grind his teeth for many years.

Dental problems affect everyone. But, when they start at an early age, they could lead to health complications later. If your child suffers from any of the above mentioned dental complications, it is advisable to visit the dentist.

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