General Dental Concerns for Babies and Children

As a parent, you are always looking left and right for ways to keep your children safe, no matter the age. How often do you think about their little teeth? Just because they’re not permanent doesn’t mean that problems won’t develop. With proper care and awareness of possible dental concerns that could arise, you can equip yourself to prevent these issues before they even break the surface.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
This issue often occurs as a result of allowing your baby to drink juice and soda, rather than water, formula, milk, or breast milk. It also happens when your baby is put to bed with a bottle or breastfeeding through the night (aka “bottle rot”). Let them finish their bedtime and naptime bottles then brush their teeth before drifting off to sleep.

Thumb Sucking
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects.  It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy.  Ideally, all habits should cease by 12 months, which seems easier with the pacifier because you can take it away. For the thumbsucker, age 3 is time to gently encourage your child to stop. Some suggest that a pacifier habit is easier to break than a thumb habit, because you can throw a pacifier away. Prolonged oral habits may cause your child’s upper front baby teeth to flare out and give the appearance of an “overbite” or “buck teeth.” If your child continues to have an oral habit past age 6, the permanent teeth will likely become affected, and you should discuss a plan with the dentist.

Malocclusion
Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Taking care of your infant’s teeth and maintaining a good relationship between yourself, your child, and a pediatric dentist will ensure that they’re always smiling. Contact Sunshine Smiles to schedule an appointment!

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