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August 03, 2022
Your child’s oral health is not something to take lightly. When there are disruptions to the state of your child’s mouth, it could affect the way they speak and eat. A “simple” dental problem like white spots on teeth can signal poor nutrition. These things could also turn into bigger medical issues if infections are not addressed.
It sounds daunting, but it’s true! That’s why you have to take your little one’s oral hygiene seriously. It’s best to know the most common dental problems and solutions, as well. This way, you can recognize the signs early on and know when or how to take action.
In this article, we talk about:
The bad news: All kids will experience at least one of the following problems. The good news: Some of these are normal or expected as your little one grows. The best way to prepare? Aside from prevention, of course, you can do some self-study of your own about these common dental concerns and get familiar with the signs. These problems don’t happen in a set timeline. Instead, some of them may develop alongside each other or grow right after one issue resolves. Some kids might even have three or more problems at the same time! Hang in there–we’re rooting for you!
1. Teething (for babies)
The Signs: Irritability or fussiness, trying to chew anything and everything, excessive drooling, swollen gums; Some children develop low-grade fever and diarrhea
The Cause: Eruption of teeth (It’s a totally normal part of growth and usually starts when your child is around 4 to 7 months old.)
The Solutions: Soothe the discomfort with cuddles, crackers, a refrigerated teething ring, and cool treats for babies that can eat already. It’s going to be a stressful time for both you and baby, but it’ll pass.
2. Child tooth decay
The Signs: Plaque buildup, cavities, black or white spots on teeth, rotten teeth, toothaches
The Cause: Sugary foods and liquids like milk and juice are left in your child’s mouth for an extended period of time
The Solutions: Avoid giving your baby a bottle before naps or at night. Clean your baby’s mouth gently and use floss picks when they get older. When they eat something sweet, it’s best to follow it up with some water. This helps flush away the bad bacteria on the teeth.
Oh no! Tooth decay! This is a sure sign to take your child to the dentist for cleaning.
3. Loose teeth
The Signs: When a tooth gets loose naturally or due to rotting, it can be wiggled in place while still being anchored by the roots to the gums.
The Cause: Erupting permanent teeth, decay, or accidentally getting knocked-out
The Solutions: Prevent cavities and accidents with proper oral hygiene and safety practices during playtime and other activities. Let loose teeth fall on their own or ask a dentist for advice if it becomes uncomfortable for your child. You might be tempted to try those online hacks like tying a string on a door and trying to pull it shut.
4. Crowded teeth (a.k.a. malocclusion)
The Signs: Crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth, or their jaws don’t meet properly
The Cause: Genetics, prolonged use of bottle or pacifier, thumbsucking, premature eruption of permanent teeth
The Solutions: Aside from well-rounded dental care at home, some kids may require orthodontic treatments like braces. Make sure your child’s teeth are seen by an orthodontist if you suspect they have crowded teeth. With or without braces, your little one has to be really thorough with cleaning in between teeth to avoid cavities.
5. Bad breath (a.k.a. Halitosis)
The Signs: Smelly breath, possibly whitened tongue and some tooth decay
The Cause: Mouth breathing, lack of oral hygiene, dental cavities, and respiratory conditions such as sinusitis
The Solutions: Make sure to clean every nook and cranny of their mouth, including in-between teeth with floss picks and their tongue with a scraper. If the halitosis doesn’t go away after a while, take your child to see a doctor to find out if there are other underlying medical conditions that are causing the bad smell.
There are other dental problems to watch for in kids. The list includes:
• Tooth sensitivity - This may happen if the tooth enamel is worn and some roots of the teeth are exposed. Kids who have this will experience pain whenever they eat something cold.
• Gum disease - This will develop if the mouth is not properly cleaned and if tooth decay isn’t addressed properly. Gum diseases are usually caused by bacteria infecting the gums.
• Dental phobia or anxiety- These conditions could really happen, especially if your child experienced extreme pain during a past dental visit.
• Teeth grinding - Also called bruxism, this usually happens when your child is asleep. The teeth can be painful or the edges may be damaged if this is not addressed.
• Stained teeth - This could happen to individuals who keep drinking heavily colored beverages. For adults, it’s wine and coffee that are the usual culprits but for kids, you need to check their diet and oral care habits to get to the bottom of it.
Reassure your little one and give them a reward after the dentist visit to turn things around.
The experts from mouthhealthy.org recommend, “your child’s first dental visit should take place after that first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday.” This might seem too early, but being a step ahead of your child’s oral health helps in the prevention of problems.
Some children may be hesitant about this. Kids may associate the dentist with doctors that wear white coats and give shots that sting. What you can do is allot time before the visit to set expectations with your little one. Some kids might need to be prepared for procedures that may cause them pain. Others may be concerned about not being able to move for an extended time because of a treatment. You have to explain these in terms that your child can understand and keep the lines open with them to ask you anything on their mind.
The short answer is when the first tooth or teeth appear. Start with a pediatric toothbrush and toothpaste first. Then, progress to other types that are appropriate for the child’s age. Even if you don’t observe any problem, don’t be lax about this. The best way to prevent common dental problems is to always be vigilant.
Take note, however, that even before the first teeth, you need to be cleaning your baby’s mouth already. Experts suggest using your clean finger covered in a damp cloth. You then use this to gently wipe all over their gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and so on.
As for brushing the teeth and flossing, you can start with assisting the child first and slowly allowing him or her to be more independent until they master these skills. Using floss picks like Piico’s makes the process easier since they’re painless and easy to use compared to the usual floss strings.
We know… It's a struggle that many parents face. Naturally, you first need to try explaining the importance of doing these two. Let them visualize how there could be food, debris, and other things that get stuck in between teeth. If you think it will work for them, you can also warn them of the consequences.
Another way to motivate your kids is by letting them practice being independent more. For instance, allow them to choose the design or color of their toothbrush or floss pick. This simple act of giving them the choice can create a big impact on their self-esteem.
The next best thing would be to make the experience fun for them! Use the time to connect with your child, make silly faces together, and just enjoy each other’s company. Another way to do it: offer rewards. If you offer something that they really like, they’ll surely be motivated to do the task well.
What’s great about Piico’s gum soft picks is that they’re made especially for kids. Your children can even pick their favorite among the cute colors and characters in every pack. Each floss pick is just the right size to fit into your little one’s palm. They can easily use the floss pick to thoroughly clean their teeth. Piico Kids Floss Picks also come in a Playground box, where you get plenty of picks, a child-friendly tooth care guide, and an adventure map full of surprises! Tikes can use the provided stickers to mark on the map how far their quest has taken them whenever they floss. Challenge your kids or use this chance to offer them rewards for completing the map and learning about dental care on the way!
With good oral care, your child is sure to gain confidence and a winning smile!
We hope this guide was able to help you in getting familiar with the common dental problems kids have and their solutions. Raising a child is surely tough, but when you arm yourself with knowledge, you’ll be able to come down from your panic and calmly address problems when they arise.
Browse our best floss pick collection below. Let Piico be your teammate in ensuring that your kid’s oral health is always in tiptop shape.
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