6 common Oral problems in kids and how to prevent them
Common Oral problems affecting kids
Dental caries also is known as tooth decay, or cavities is a preventable condition. It is the most common chronic condition to impact kids.It is five times more prevalent in kids than asthma and seven times more frequent than hay fever Food that is rich in carbohydrates like cookies, candies, carbonated drinks and even fruit juices, form deposits on your teeth. These deposits combined with the bacteria that are typically present in the mouth form plaque. It is ideal breeding ground for bacteria that release acids which can damage the mineral structure of teeth and wear away tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
Our teeth expand and contract as a reaction to alterations in temperature. Sweet, Hot and cold foods and drinks can cause irritation or pain to people with teeth sensitivity. Tooth enamel wear, receding gum or teeth with cracks invisible to the naked eye, expose the dentin layer of the tooth, and allow food and drinks to reach nerve endings, causing irritation. Even breathing cold air can cause pain to those with extreme teeth sensitivity.
Gum, or periodontal, the disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss, and bone damage, and general indicators are a consistent foul breath or a poor taste in the mouth. Gums can bleed easily and become sore and inflamed in the early stage of disease, known as gingivitis. As the disease advances to periodontitis, tooth loss may occur or need to be extracted by a dentist. Gum disease is easily preventable and can simply be avoided by daily brushing and flossing.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Daily brushing and flossing aids to prevent the build-up of food deposits, plaque, and bacteria in your oral cavity. Food particles that remain in the mouth deteriorate and result in bad breath. Though certain foods, such as anchovies or garlic may create foul breath temporarily, consistent bad breath may be an indicator of gum disease or other dental problems.
Aphthous ulcers or canker sores are small sores inside the mouth that tend to recur. They present as a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Lasting 7-15 days, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of topical creams and gels or antimicrobial mouthwashes.
A bite that does not meet adequately (malocclusion) can be hereditary or certain cases the improper bite may be acquired. Most common causes of malformation of the bite include extra or missing teeth, teeth crowding, poorly aligned jaws, injuries/trauma or childhood developmental issues, such as thumb sucking or extended use of baby soothers.
For Newborns and Infants:
- Take your child for consultation and examination to a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday.
- Wipe the infant’s tooth after each feed with clean wet gauze pads or cotton cloth.
- Start brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush as soon as first teeth appear.
- Do not indulge in extended nursing or breastfeeding.
- If your infant goes off to sleep while feeding, make sure you clean their teeth before tucking them into bed.
For Toddlers and young kids:
- Encourage the kid to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday. A sippy cup (training cup) should only serve as a transitional tool to help the kid adjust from bottle to cup.
- It is preferable to serve only water in the sippy cup. If you are filling juice or milk in the sippy cup, ensure that you clean and sanitize it after each feed.
- If not, you are subjecting your child’s teeth to prolonged bacterial exposure.
- Educate and demonstrate proper oral care habits to your child. Brushing twice daily for two minutes, rinsing after each meal and flossing once daily. To ensure your child brushes for the required two minutes, you can pick a nursery rhyme or song that lasts roughly two minutes and get them to brush while the music persists.
- Supervise the child’s oral care routine.
- Introduce your child to nutritious, healthy food habits and meal times. The easiest way is to lead by example.
- Fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouth rinses. Fluoride strengthens enamel and helps re-mineralization of teeth thereby preventing tooth decay. Consult your dentist as excess Fluoride can be toxic.
Besides good oral care at home, some professional measures can prevent dental decay in kids. These include:
- Dental sealants: They are clear or tooth-colored composite materials that bond with the biting surface of teeth. Milwaukie Dentist, Dr. Kevin Speer says, “Sealants act as a barrier between decay-causing bacteria, food, and the tooth enamel. Ideally, sealants should be placed when the first molars begin to appear. They should be placed as early as possible to deduct any chance of early dental caries.”
- Regular dental examination: Regular cleaning and inspection by a dental professional can help prevent dental diseases. Regular checkups ensure that any malformation or disease onset is detected and checked early preventing prolonged damage.
Children, are especially fond of candies and sweets and do not understand the risks involved. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child’s smile is as healthy as it is beautiful.