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Every parent has concerns for the dental health of their children. As family dentists, we have parents ask us questions about a wide range of topics, from thumb sucking and the loss of baby teeth to canker sores, teeth grinding (or bruxism), dental anxiety, and bad breath. All of these (and many more) are genuine concerns, and if you have questions or concerns about your child’s dental health, the very best thing you can do is talk to your family dentist right away. There’s no such thing as a bad question!
For your convenience, though, we’ve gathered some info on the top five most common dental concerns for children so you know what you can do to help prevent or treat them.
Tooth Decay – It may not come as a big surprise that tooth decay is one of the leading oral health concerns among children. In fact, according to the CDC, one in five children aged 5 to 11 have untreated cavities. A lot of factors can affect a child’s risk for tooth decay, but among the most common are diets rich in sugar and poor dental hygiene. That’s all the bad news. The good news is that cavities are treatable and, better yet, preventable with simple daily brushing, flossing, and regular trips to see your Overland Park dentist.
Early Gum Disease – While we tend to associate gum disease with adults, the fact is that gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, is routinely found in children of all ages. One of the key warning signs of an onset of gingivitis is red, swollen, or bleeding gums, especially after your child finishes brushing. Fortunately, if it’s caught early, it can often be stopped before it advances to more serious forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis.
Misaligned or Crowded Teeth – Though we may wish it weren’t so, children rarely have perfectly straight teeth. A wide range of genetic factors plays a part in determining whether a child is likely to suffer from orthodontic problems. Luckily, orthodontic techniques and treatments have come a long way in recent years. These days you’ll find a variety of effective, affordable, and unobtrusive solutions that can help your child or teen enjoy a happy, healthy smile!
Sensitive Teeth – This is another concern that we most often associate with adults who may have lost or worn down their tooth enamel, but tooth sensitivity can happen to individuals of all ages. It’s especially common among children who consume a lot of sugary snacks, soda, energy drinks, or other acidic foods and beverages. These can wear down tooth enamel quickly, leading to teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold, and other factors.
Dental Emergencies – These are scary, but don’t worry. It’s going to be okay. A child might chip, crack, or otherwise injure a tooth in all sorts of ways, or even injure their lips, tongue, or gums. It can happen while playing sports, riding a bike, you name it. Active kids get all sorts of scrapes and bruises, and their mouths aren’t immune. Fortunately, your Overland Park dentist knows what you should do until you can come in to see us.
At the end of the day, a child’s oral health is every bit as complex and unique as any adult’s. Each child is going to have different concerns, but the best preventive measure is always the same: Teach your child good oral care habits, including brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your friendly neighborhood dentist regularly. While you’re here, talk to us about any concerns you or your child might have.
If you have questions or would like to schedule your next appointment today, just call Watts Family Dental, your Overland Park dentist, at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment or chat with a member of our friendly staff!