Common Dental Problems in Kids

Children's Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
October 5, 2021

father and son smiling looking at laptop

Although dental problems might become more of an issue when you’re older, it’s important to know that children can also be impacted by oral health ailments. By being aware of the risks, you can take steps to help your kids maintain strong teeth and gums. 

What are some of the common dental problems that kids might develop? Below is a short list of a few things to watch out for as your little one grows. 

Cavities are common in kids

The CDC has stated that around 20% of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one tooth with decay that hasn’t been treated. And if the decay is left to progress, a child might end up with an infection, in addition to tooth pain and trouble chewing.

Just like you can work toward preventing cavities in your own teeth, you can help your child keep their teeth healthy and strong by instilling good habits like daily brushing and flossing. In the event that a cavity does develop, your child’s dentist might recommend a filling to restore the strength of the tooth. Or, the dentist might recommend treatments like sealants to help prevent decay before it forms.   

Note: Even baby teeth can develop cavities. And if a baby tooth has extensive decay, to the point that the tooth falls out or needs to be extracted long before it would’ve naturally fallen out, nearby teeth might shift, potentially making it harder for the permanent tooth to come in straight. Just another reason to work on preventing cavities! 

Gum disease can affect kids, too

If your child has bad breath that won’t go away or if their gums bleed, they might have gum disease. While it might be hard to believe that someone so young could end up with this problem, if your little one doesn’t maintain a good oral hygiene routine, plaque can turn into tartar, and the gums can be affected. Also, some kids are more susceptible to gum disease because of various factors, such as their diet, other health problems, or bruxism.

The scary thing about gum disease is that it doesn’t just affect the gums and cause them to become inflamed and sore; it can also damage the structures that support teeth and keep them in place. In other words, your child’s teeth might end up falling out if the gum disease isn’t treated with the help of a dentist. 

Certain habits might lead to misaligned teeth

Sometimes, a child’s teeth don’t grow in straight, or there might not be enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth to be aligned properly. But misaligned teeth might also occur if poor habits develop. For example, if a child continues sucking their thumb once their permanent teeth have started to erupt, it might cause changes to the alignment of the teeth or bite.

Other habits that might also result in changes to the bite or teeth alignment are lip sucking and tongue thrusting. So, if your child is exhibiting those habits, talk to your dentist for advice on how to get them to stop before any damage is done. 

Get your child used to going to the dentist on a regular basis

The sooner you can get your child used to going to the dentist, the better. That way, they can be comfortable with the idea of having their mouth examined, and you’ll be able to catch problems in their earliest stages. Although there are some dental issues that are quite common, rest assured that treatment options are available, and your dentist can steer you in the right direction. 

Want to be sure you’ll be able to afford your child’s trips to the dentist and any treatments that might be necessary to ensure their smile will be bright? Check out the family dental plans offered by Spirit, including those that provide coverage for orthodontics, to see how much you could potentially save. 







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