Common Oral Health Concerns in Children

Common Oral Health Concerns in Children

If you’re worried about the health of your child’s teeth, you’re right to be concerned. Studies show that having good oral health from childhood is linked to helping children stay healthier overall throughout their lives. 

As general and cosmetic dental providers, we understand that ongoing oral health begins with excellent dental care in childhood. That’s why our team at Robert F. Wilcox, DMD, PC, in Butte, Montana, offers specialized pediatric dentistry.

For your child, February may mean Valentine's Day, chocolate, and candy, but it’s also National Children’s Dental Month and the perfect time to learn about pediatric oral health. Here’s a closer look at some of the oral health concerns children often face and how Dr. Wilcox can help.

Early childhood cavities

More than half of all kids develop at least one early childhood cavity by the time they’re 8 years old. Cavities are painful, and if not treated in a timely manner, they can lead to infection and problems with eating, play, and even learning and talking. 

By bringing your child in for regular pediatric dental care, Dr. Wilcox and our team can help prevent these early cavities using therapies such as:

If your child has a cavity, Dr. Wilcox can treat it by providing a dental filling. This helps prevent further decay and restores function to your child’s tooth.

Thumb sucking

Once your child’s permanent teeth start to form and come in, around age 4, thumb-sucking can change the way your child’s teeth align. It can also affect the health of the roof of their mouth (palate). 

If your child continues to suck their thumb as they get older, it can lead to ongoing oral health problems, including:

We discuss these issues with you and your child to determine the best way to help your child stop sucking their thumb. For example, a simple oral device called a tongue crib could help.

Enamel erosion

Cavities can develop when your child doesn’t have enough enamel on their teeth or when it erodes. Enamel erosion can result because of a developmental defect, but most often it happens because of lifestyle factors, including:

The good news is that our team can help prevent enamel erosion using fluoride treatments. Fluoride helps your child’s teeth keep the minerals that support their dental enamel. It also helps strengthen areas that have already weakened, which prevents cavities from developing. 

You can help by following the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommendations and having your child use a fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first tooth erupts.

Not understanding how to brush and floss

Even with parental guidance, many children struggle with understanding the right way to brush and floss their teeth. And for some parents, when there are only a few teeth in their child’s mouth or the teeth are spaced far apart, it can be confusing to know how to teach their child what to do. 

You can start by picking out a toothbrush designed for kids, and helping them clean their teeth until they can do so on their own. Continue to oversee their nightly brushing through grade school. 

But even with regular brushing, only about half of the surface area of their teeth gets cleaned every night. Regular flossing helps clean the parts of your child’s teeth that brushing can’t reach. 

When you bring in your child for a pediatric appointment, we show both you and your child the right way to brush and floss. We also remind your child to brush in the morning and to rinse their mouth after eating lunch at school or after having snacks. 

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month and help prevent common childhood oral health problems by scheduling an appointment for pediatric dentistry services with Dr. Wilcox in Butte, Montana.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Overcome Dental Anxiety With Oral Sedation

Overcome Dental Anxiety With Oral Sedation

If you’re one of the many Americans who suffer from dental anxiety, you may struggle to keep up your dental care. Oral sedation can help you overcome your worries and get the care you need, so take a moment to learn more.
Ask Your Dentist These Questions At Your Next Cleaning

Ask Your Dentist These Questions At Your Next Cleaning

Curious about how you can enhance your routine dental cleaning? Your dentist is the key to a world of knowledge about your oral health. Keep reading to learn the essential questions that will give you insights into your dental care.
How Do Dental Fillings Help?

How Do Dental Fillings Help?

Most people think of dental fillings as just a treatment for cavities, but they can do so much more. Take a moment to learn how dental fillings can help improve your oral health and your smile. 

How to Care for Your Temporary Dental Crown

A temporary crown won’t stay in your mouth for long, but caring for it the right way helps you avoid pain now and complications down the line. Take a moment to learn what you need to know about temporary crowns.

5 Reasons to Consider Professional Teeth Whitening

Are you tired of holding back your smile because of dull, yellow teeth? Professional teeth whitening might be the answer. Keep reading to learn our top five reasons to consider this treatment this holiday season.