little girl smiles revealing Common dental problems in child

Top 6 common dental problems in children

Parents, we know you’re doing your best to make oral hygiene fun! 

One of the best ways to teach your kiddo how to properly care for their growing teeth is by understanding the common dental problems in children.

Let’s explore all the baby teeth problems and solutions!

1. Cavities

Studies show that 2 to 5 year olds have had an average of 5 teeth with cavities. This happens when the bacteria in their mouth feed on the sugars and starches from food and drinks and create acids. 

Over time, these acids break down your child’s tooth enamel and create a small hole.  Without proper care and treatment, this infection will borrow deeper into the layers of their teeth and into their tooth nerve (and even possibly into their jawbone!)  

How to prevent cavities:

  • Encourage your child to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day.
  • An alcohol-free, antibacterial mouthwash can help too – if your child is old enough to spit it out.
  • Limit sugary snacks and drinks like candy and soda.
  • Attend regular dental check-up appointments.
  • Consider dental sealants.

How to treat cavities: 

2. Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and a term most parents are familiar with. But did you know that 50% of children have gum disease

You can tell your child has gingivitis if they have red, swollen gums or their gums bleed when brushing or flossing (after 5 consecutive days of doing so). But the good news is that gingivitis is simple to prevent and easy to reverse!

How to prevent gingivitis:

How to treat gingivitis:

  • Have your child brush twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Make sure your child receives their bi-annual teeth cleanings at their pediatric dentist visits. 

3. Malocclusions (bad bites)

Malocclusion is a condition where your child’s teeth don’t meet properly at bite. It can be as obvious as having an overbite or as subtle as crowded teeth. Both of these are types of malocclusions or common orthodontic conditions. They can lead to problems chewing, speaking, and even affect your kiddo’s self-confidence.

How to prevent malocclusions: 

Unfortunately, most malocclusions are hereditary and can’t be entirely prevented, but you can stop these conditions from worsening! How?

  • Schedule an exam with an orthodontist when your child turns 7.
  • Discourage thumb sucking or pacifier use after age 4.

How to treat malocclusions: 

  • An orthodontic treatment such as braces, Invisalign, and/or the use of a palatal expander.

One benefit to choosing Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry as your child’s pediatric dentist is that we partner with Blue Wave Orthodontics, Tampa Bay’s preferred orthodontic practice! 

Our pediatric dental team works closely with their orthodontic team so our staff is trained and experienced in growth and development monitoring. (A few of our Kids Smiles locations are even next to some Blue Wave Orthodontics offices!)

4. Thumb sucking and pacifier use

This one is more a bad dental habit that can cause common dental problems in children! Like we mentioned above, thumbsucking or pacifier use after age 4 can lead to teeth or jaw misalignments such as open bite or overbite. 

While a great self-soothing technique for infants and toddlers, it’s important to discourage this after age 4 because the sucking motion exerts an abnormal force on their developing teeth and jaws and encourages them to move in an unhealthy direction. 

How to stop or treat thumbsucking in children:

  • Talk to your child’s pediatric dentist about tips and tricks.
  • Most children respond well to gentle encouragement to stop thumb sucking.
  • More detailed methods to discourage thumbsucking can be found here!

5. Dental trauma

Parents, you know that kids have no fear! Stunts like jumping out of trees, skateboarding down the stairs, or even a simple soccer practice game can lead to chipped, cracked, or knocked-out teeth.

In the event of a dental emergency like this, please call our offices ASAP! We offer virtual appointments to help assess their dental needs and save time in our daily schedules for swift emergency appointments. 

How to prevent dental trauma:

  • Always supervise your children.
  • If your child plays a sport, have them use a mouthguard for games and practice.

How to treat dental trauma:

  • Before seeking dental treatment, ensure there’s no other pressing medical concerns such as broken bones or cuts that require emergency care.
  • Depending on the state and health of your child’s teeth, our pediatric dentists may perform:
    • Tooth extractions.
    • Strip crowns.
    • Dental crowns.
    • And many more!

6. Teething pain

Teething mostly affects children under the age of 4 as their baby teeth are still erupting – especially those pesky molars! Unfortunately there’s nothing to prevent teething pain or discomfort, but it can be treated.

How to treat teething pain: 

  • Give your child cool soft treats or drinks such as ice cream, popsicles, or ice water.
  • Give them the appropriate dosage Tylenol or acetaminophen.
  • Give infants a cool, damp cloth to teeth.
  • Offer chilled teething rings or toys.

The importance of pediatric dental care

Many of these dental problems have a few common prevention tactics, practicing strong oral hygiene and attending regular dental check-ups! Your child’s pediatric dental care includes digital x-rays, a visual exam by a pediatric dentist, teeth cleaning, and valuable tips and tricks on your child’s specific dental needs. 

Still have questions about baby teeth problems and solutions?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s dental health. As a pediatric dentistry near you, our team is not just your child’s dental home, but your partner in your child’s dental health journey. 

Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in South Tampa, North Tampa, Town ‘n’ Country or East Bradenton today!