Warning Signs of Poor Oral Health in Children

Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Every child deserves to experience pain-free oral health. To avoid uncomfortable and costly oral conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease, parents can work with their family dentist in Shoreline or their local area. Through dedicated teamwork, children can receive regular assessments that signal the possibility of poor oral health, and can learn the proper way to take care of teeth from the time they are very young.

As much of the oral care goes on at home, parents can arm themselves with information. When you know what to look for, you give your child a better chance of experiencing excellent oral health as he or she grows. Here, we will look at some conditions that may occur in the young mouth.

Decay of Baby Teeth - It is possible that baby teeth may become decayed, or may even be missing or require extraction. These initial teeth are necessary for proper development, as they serve as a guide for permanent teeth. Should one or more be lost before its time, permanent teeth lose their guide and may come in poorly positioned.
Nursing Bottle Syndrome is one way that baby teeth may become extensively decayed. This condition is also called nursing caries, or bottle caries, and develops from prolonged intake of any sugar-containing liquid through the bottle. This includes breast milk and baby formula, as well as fruit juice or any sweetened beverage. To avoid decay from bottle caries, parents can give him or her a pacifier at bedtime, rather than a bottle. Regular visits to your dentist in Shoreline or your local area will allow you to stay on top of any cavities that may be forming so treatment may be administered early.

As children grow into eating solid foods, choosing those that are naturally sweetened will help them avoid tooth decay. Fruits and vegetables that are crunchy, like apples, pears, cucumbers, and celery, are especially good because they rub against teeth and gums during chewing, and remove some of the bacteria that can hide and feed on leftovers. Children should also be taught to clean their teeth after meals, and to drink plenty of water. This small habit, as well as chewing sugar-free gum after meals, wash away bacteria and protect teeth from decay.

There is also a link between a child's oral health and that of his or her parents. This is not due to heredity, but bacteria. Parents and children will share kisses, food, utensils, and other treats. During these loving acts, bacteria can spread from one to another. Therefore, maintaining your own oral health through brushing, flossing, and regular dental examinations helps both you and your children.

by Jean Taylor


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