At Little Heroes Dentistry, when we greet our friends and family it is always with a smile.

Teeth are an important part of our social interactions and they play a pivotal role in our individual health. Parents naturally worry about their child’s developments and health. One of the many questions that we often hear from our families is, “What are some concerns the dentist has about my child’s teeth”?

From 2011-2014, over 13% of aged 6-19 yrs old had untreated dental caries in their permanent teeth #CleanTeeth #HealthySmile Click To Tweet

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Primary teeth begin to develop before birth but do not fully appear until about the age of three. These teeth, although not permanent, are critical to a child’s development. They affect a child’s chewing habits, as well as contribute to the alignment of the jaw bones and muscles. Without healthy baby teeth, permanent teeth may not grow into the proper position, resulting in the need for braces and possibly even surgery to correct the problem.

Because primary teeth play a crucial role in a child’s health, dentists recommend that parents help their children establish a daily brushing routine until they reach an age where they can be responsible for cleaning their teeth independently.

The type of toothpaste parents use can also have a large effect on a young smile. Some toothpastes are too abrasive, and they can prematurely wear down a child’s enamel, damaging the tooth’s protective coating. Parents should assist their children with healthy brushing habits until about the age of six, using pea-sized drops of toothpaste. Most children do not have all of their permanent teeth until between the ages of ten and thirteen.

#Parents should brush their child's teeth for 2-minutes 2X a day #ToothTip #Smile #LittleHeroes Click To Tweet

Concerns Dentists Have

It is important for parents to encourage their children to maintain oral hygiene from an early age, so they can mature into healthy adults. Some of the major concerns that dentists generally have about children’s teeth include:

Thumb Sucking

Infants naturally feel relaxed using thumbs, pacifiers, and other objects to suck on. The sense of security and comfort that comes with the sucking reflex is powerful in humans but it can also present oral problems if the habit persists.

Once permanent teeth begin to develop, sucking habits can disrupt the placement of the developing teeth in the mouth and cause misalignments. The intensity of the child’s thumb sucking influences how much the jaw and teeth are affected.

Parents should encourage their children to break the habit by the time they start attending school, and your dentist may be able to help. Thumb sucking is usually associated with feelings of insecurity, and parents can try to address the source of the child’s anxiety, instead of focusing exclusively on the act of thumb sucking.

Gum Disease

Plaque is a naturally occurring byproduct of the bacteria that live in our mouths. If it is allowed to build up, it can cause infections and irritate the gums. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and it is fairly common in children. Symptoms include red and swollen gums that may bleed after brushing but the condition is usually not painful.

Your child may not even be bothered by gingivitis, and it can be easily reversed by cleaning the teeth more consistently. However, if the infection is not addressed, it can develop into a more severe version of gum disease, known as periodontitis.

Gum disease is a persistent condition that can be difficult to treat in adults and the best way to prevent this condition is by starting early. Gingivitis and periodontal disease affect the gums and deep tissue structures that support strong teeth, and they can have devastating consequences. If good oral hygiene habits are not followed, these diseases can lead to receding gum lines and eventually severe tooth decay.

21% of children 6-11 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth #ToothCare Click To Tweet

Malocclusion – A Bad Bite

When teeth are crowded, crooked, or the jaws are misaligned, it can be difficult to properly clean the teeth and gums. The condition known as malocclusion, or bad bite, is usually recognizable by the time a child’s permanent teeth begin to develop. If left uncorrected, children can struggle with eating, speaking, and the teeth are more likely to be damaged.

Abnormal bites can cause permanent teeth to wear down more quickly, and protruding teeth are at a greater risk of being chipped and broken. Your dentist will likely recommend treatment options to address this condition before it becomes a serious problem.

Talk to your Rio Grande Valley pediatric dentist at Little Heroes for help correcting any issues with your child’s teeth.

If you are in search of a pediatric dentist in South Texas, there is a place where your child can obtain a bright smile and an even brighter future. Little Heroes Dentistry is dedicated to helping your little heroes achieve a lifetime of excellent oral health and we make the process easy and fun.

Contact us today at any of our Rio Grande Valley dental offices them to schedule an appointment and protect your child’s future.

Are you a Little Hero?

Request an Appointment