As a parent, you already know there is a lot to watch out for when it comes to the oral health of your kids, such as when their baby teeth start coming in. Taking them to their pediatric dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings is a great way to ensure that their smile starts developing correctly. However, in between those appointments, keep an eye out for these 3 red flags that your children’s oral health might not be at its best.
Many infants suck their thumb as a means of security and comfort. That being said, thumb sucking after permanent teeth have started to erupt around age 5 or 6 can cause problems, such as:
- Bone shift. The supporting bone structure might move, causing misalignments in the jaw and roof of the mouth.
- Overbite. The continual force of sucking can cause the child to develop an overbite.
- Difficult speech. Shifted teeth can make it hard to pronounce certain words.
Thumb sucking is a perfectly normal habit for babies. However, in order to protect their mouth in the future, it’s a good idea to help them kick the habit before age 5.
Because thumb sucking is generally a security mechanism, negative reinforcement is often ineffective in stopping the behavior. Instead, give them praise and rewards for time spent abstaining from the habit. You could also cover their thumb with a Band-Aid as a reminder.
Nursing Bottle Syndrome
Nursing bottle syndrome, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, occurs when a baby constantly ingests liquid containing sugar, such as milk, formula, or fruit juice. Drinking from a bottle of sugary liquid at night gives bacteria ample time to grow while a child sleeps, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay or infection that could spread to the rest of the body.
The best way to combat nursing bottle syndrome is to give your baby a pacifier or a bottle of water before bed. In addition, shift to a sippy cup when your pediatric dentist recommends it – often by age one.
Tongue thrusting is a condition caused by a child pressing the tongue against the lips when swallowing with a force that can over time lead to the protrusion of the front teeth over time. Visiting a children’s dentist or a speech pathologist can treat this problem.
Your child will be given an oral appliance placed in the upper arch and palate. While this device is worn, normal lip movement will help realign the teeth. However, it’s important that the teeth still be cleaned in and around the item.
Taking care of your child’s oral health is about a lot more than just brushing and flossing. This list might sound stressful, but your child’s dentist can help you diagnose and treat these conditions. If you think your little one might have any one of these habits, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist.
About the Practice
The Dentists at Orenco for Kids provide dental care that is so friendly that children look forward to their next appointment. Our team of five dentists, including two Board-certified pediatric dentists, strives to help kids develop beautiful and healthy smiles. We can help diagnose any problems your child might have and suggest a method of treatment. For more information click here or call (503)-640-6565.