We do everything we can to make sure our children stay healthy, from encouraging them to eat healthy foods to getting active and, of course, taking good care of their teeth. But did you know that there are some early childhood dental issues that may not seem too concerning on the surface… but can affect your child’s overall wellbeing? Join your children’s dentist in Smyrna in this week’s blog as we cover some of the most common early childhood dental issues that every parent should be aware of.
Thumb sucking is a completely normal habit for young children. Kids often find comfort in the activity, but if it goes on for too long, it can start to affect your child’s tooth development. Constant thumb sucking puts abnormal pressure on the roof of the mouth and sides of the upper jaw which can result in the narrowing of the top jaw, otherwise known as a bad bite. A bad bite occurs when the top teeth don’t line up properly with the bottom teeth and can lead to a whole host of other problems such as speech development, misaligned teeth, and jaw pain. Your children’s dentist in Smyrna usually recommends stopping the habit by age two to help reduce the risk of complications.
Have you ever seen a picture of an adorable little kid with his tongue slightly peeking out from his teeth? This is known as tongue thrusting and while it’s super cute in pictures, it can cause similar problems to thumb sucking, including problems with speech development and crooked teeth or a bad bite. Tongue thrusting may also happen while swallowing and may require teaching your child a new way to swallow. A children’s dentist and/or a speech therapist can help correct any issues caused by tongue thrusting.
Even though the name implies that this occurs only from baby bottles, it actually has less to do with the drinking vessel itself and more to do with what’s inside. Baby bottle decay occurs when baby teeth are exposed to too much sugar too often. It is often a result of a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula. When children are allowed to drink sugary beverages like these over a long period of time, such as bedtime, the sugars continuously coat their tiny teeth. The result? Decay, cavities, and the need for dental treatment. It’s best to give your child sugary drinks in moderation and while being observed. If your little one needs something to sip on during bedtime, choose water only.
A common misconception is that since baby teeth are temporary, it’s ok if they fall out early. However, when baby teeth are lost before they’re ready it can affect the development of permanent adult teeth. Gaps created by early tooth loss can cause other teeth to shift and cause speech problems or bite problems or permanent teeth can erupt at an odd angle causing crooked teeth. Keeping baby teeth healthy and in place, until they’re ready to fall out naturally is key. This is one reason why brushing and flossing are just as important for baby teeth as they are for adult teeth.
Childhood dental problems can be serious, so make sure your little one sees a children’s dentist in Smyrna by the age of one and then visits every six months. Preventive dental care can go a long way in protecting your child’s oral health and preparing them for a lifetime of healthy smiles.