Six Common Pediatric Dental Problems You Need to Be Aware Of

Little heroes begin fighting the sugar bugs from the day they are born. As their top sidekick, it is up to you, the parent, to make sure that their dental hygiene is strong.

Your team of Rio Grande Valley dentists here at Little Heroes Dentistry know that life can get pretty hectic for parents sometimes, and in an effort to help out, we created this post focusing on six dental problems you should watch out for when it comes to your children’s dental health.

It can be easy to overlook some of the issues because of day-to-day activities but we hope this helps you stop them early in their tracks.

  1. Bruxism
  2. Also known as tooth grinding, bruxism affects growing children more than you would imagine. This common problem wears down teeth, and if left unchecked, causes a lot of damage to primary and/or permanent teeth. Over time, this will lead to pain and tooth sensitivity.

    At Little Heroes Dentistry, we can customize a night guard for your child to wear while sleeping, keeping his or her teeth protected from grinding. If you feel that your child is grinding their teeth, schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentists as soon as possible.

  3. Gum Diseases
  4. Inadequate oral hygiene practices can leave behind plaque buildup on the surface of your child’s teeth, which can make its way underneath their gums, causing inflammation. When this happens, you’ve got the early stages of gingivitis.

    One clear symptom of gingivitis is when your child sees a little blood in their spit after brushing. Another tell-tale sign of gingivitis is bad breath. If you look into your child’s mouth, you may see a gum line that is red, tender, and inflamed.

    If ignored, gingivitis can become periodontitis, and at this stage, bone loss on the jaw and tooth loss can occur.

    Luckily, a good pediatric dentist—like the ones here at Little Heroes Dentistry—can reverse the early stages of gingivitis.

  5. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
  6. This common form of tooth decay mostly affects infants. While it may seem like a good idea to let your infant go to bed with a bottle to help them fall asleep, you may want to rethink this routine.

    Liquids high in sugar like juice, soda, or milk—even if watered down—can feed bad bacteria in your infant’s mouth. This bacteria then secretes an acid that burns away at their tooth enamel. Formula can also make this occur.

    Breastfeeding, on the other hand, won’t cause tooth decay but nursing mothers will still want to watch what they eat. That means staying on a healthy diet. Couple that with early dental hygiene practices and your child’s teeth should come in nicely.

    42% of children ages 2-11 have had cavities in their primary teeth. #LittleHeroes #BabyTeeth Click To Tweet

  7. Tongue Thrusting
  8. Infants often swallow by pressing their tongue to the roof of their mouth, right behind the top teeth. This method of swallowing is generally called “tongue thrusting”.

    While it may be harmless when they are little, continued use of this method as they grow older will affect not only the alignment of their permanent teeth, it can also affect how the roof of their mouth forms, too.

    If you suspect that your child is still using the tongue thrusting method to swallow while growing older, our pediatric dentists in Mission,  Laredo, and San Juan would be happy to take a look at how their teeth and mouth are developing.

  9. Thumb Sucking/Pacifier Use
  10. Another bad habit that you want your children to grow out of is thumb sucking and pacifier use. Children do these things because it soothes them, but if they continue with this habit, it can lead to some major issues.

    Children older than 3 years old that continue to suck on their thumbs or use a pacifier will normally see primary or permanent teeth knocked out of alignment. This bad habit also affects how the roof of the mouth is formed as well.

    Sometimes a simple conversation about germs with your child can break the habit. Other times it may be necessary to simply take their pacifier away from them. Please speak with your child’s pediatric dentist for additional ideas on how to help them break this habit.

    In a study by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, 94% of children stop sucking their thumbs by their first birthday. #BadHabits Click To Tweet

  11. Over-Retained Primary Teeth
  12. An over-retained primary tooth occurs when a child’s primary tooth stays in place while the permanent tooth tries to grow into the same space.

    There are plenty of reasons why this can happen:

  • Delayed eruptions of permanent teeth
  • Obstruction
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Misalignment of the permanent teeth
  • Gender (females are more likely to suffer from over-retained primary teeth)
  • The absence of a permanent tooth (this occurs in 2.5 to 6.9 percent of all cases)

This serious dental problem is treatable, however, if caught early enough but it depends on the status of the primary tooth and the structures surrounding it. If the primary tooth is in good condition, it isn’t unusual for your dentist to reshape it. If it needs work—especially if the permanent tooth was knocked out of alignment—you may need the expertise of an orthodontist as braces, dental implants, or bridges may be needed.

Help your little hero fight back against the sugar bugs with a visit to Little Heroes Dentistry today.

At Little Heroes Dentistry, we are dedicated to taking excellent care of your children’s teeth. Before school starts, take some time to visit us so that we can make sure your child’s teeth are in great shape for the new school year.

Contact us at any of our Mission, Laredo, or San Juan locations to schedule your dental check-up today.


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