Oral health is often overlooked when it comes to assessing your child’s wellness. However, even the smallest cavities can have large consequences, like sepsis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about one in five children has at least one decayed tooth. To make matters worse, children with oral health issues miss more school days and get lower grades than those who don’t. Fortunately, most of these oral health issues are preventable. You just need to spot them early.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Also known as “nursing caries,” this is a common issue caused by sugars in the beverages your baby drinks. This can come from fruit juices, formula, and even your own milk. The bacteria in your baby’s mouth turn these sugars into acids that gradually damage the teeth and create holes. When their teeth get badly decayed, they may become infected, causing pain that may hinder your kid from eating properly. This infection may also spread to other parts of the body, causing complications like jaw swelling. This condition may need I.V. and antibiotics treatment that cost thousands of dollars.
Baby teeth are also “space savers,” according to the American Dental Association. They help guide your child’s permanent teeth to grow properly. When their baby teeth get damaged and removed early, adult teeth may grow to try to fill their space, causing misalignment. This misalignment may cause jaw and muscle problems that need surgery to fix.
Prevent baby bottle tooth decay by asking your child’s dentist in Utah if your kid needs fluoride treatments. Check your child’s mouth if they have unswallowed milk when they fall asleep while feeding. Use a pacifier to calm them down instead of milk or juices. These small efforts can help your kid grow up cavity-free.
Tongue thrust happens when a person’s tongue is too far forward in the mouth, causing it to lay between one’s lips, especially when swallowing. This is normal for infants and it usually corrects itself as a child grows older. If your kid still has tongue thrust, you may notice that they have difficulty eating and breathe through their mouth. It may also be a telltale sign of conditions like tongue-tie or even allergies caused by swollen tonsils. If you notice that your child has this issue even after infancy, consult their pediatrician or a speech pathologist to come up with a treatment plan to help them swallow and chew their food better.
While fluoride is important in protecting your child’s teeth from tooth decay, too much of it may also cause damage. This is called “dental fluorosis,” and it can cause your kid’s teeth to have pitted, brown spots that can’t be cleaned off with just a brush. Its early stages are difficult to detect since they start off as white markings that may blend in with the teeth’s natural color.
You can prevent this from developing by regulating your kids’ toothpaste use. They should only have a pea-sized amount of paste on their toothbrushes. Teach them to avoid swallowing the toothpaste as much as possible. Make sure to keep dental products like mouthwash out of their reach to avoid accidental swallowing.
Your child’s oral health can affect the rest of their body. Issues can range from infections to severe difficulties with swallowing. As such, you should always be on guard and check your kid’s teeth and mouth regularly for these issues and act on them immediately. Efforts to prevent these problems, no matter how big or small, will always be worth so much more than the cure.