Being mindful of a child’s dental health is important for parents, and pediatric dentists recommend that care begin as soon as a child’s first tooth emerges. Baby teeth need to be gently brushed, and most dentists recommend using a toothpaste with a small dose of fluoride to strengthen teeth. By the time a child turns one, parents should find a dentist to begin dental cleanings and checkups. There are a number of ways that parents can help prevent issues in their young child’s teeth, but sometimes tooth decay and disease can occur even under the most watchful eye. Parents who notice any of these signs of poor dental health should ask a dentist for help moving forward:
- Nursing Caries – Nursing caries, also known as nursing bottle syndrome, occur when a child’s teeth are overexposed to liquids that contain sugar, including milk, formula and breast milk. This tends to be an issue when a parent gives their child a bottle at night for comfort. Sleeping with a bottle all night puts a child’s teeth at risk of overexposure. Pediatric dentists recommend replacing the milk or formula in a bottle with water if a child needs one for nightly comfort.
- Missing or Decaying Baby Teeth – The position and condition of baby teeth set the course for adult teeth that will eventually take their place. When baby teeth do not come in, or if they suffer from tooth decay, this can result in crooked or misaligned permanent teeth, which in turn can cause a number of issues. If a child’s teeth show signs of decay, parents should take them to their local dentist office to for advice.
- Thumb Sucking – While this is a normal child behavior, thumb sucking can cause problems if it continues after permanent teeth have started to fill in. The pressure from thumb sucking can result in misaligned teeth, and it can also affect the jaw and roof of the mouth. Children shouldn’t continue to suck their thumb after the age of five, and if they do parents should address the issue.
- Genetics – Sometimes a child’s teeth may seem fine, but a genetic tooth issue that runs in the family could affect them later on. Children with parents suffering from certain dental diseases are at a higher risk of having those diseases themselves. Parent’s should be conscious of any issues they may have and make sure to inform their child’s pediatric dentist of any family dental diseases to help them provide the best care possible.
These red flags can help parents to have an idea of when their child might be suffering from a dental problem. Being aware of these signs allows parents to take care of issues before they become a bigger, long-term problem. This is a great source for more.
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