Just like adults, children want to have healthy teeth. However there are some common teeth problems in children, most of which are easily treated when identified early.
Crooked teeth are one of the most common teeth problems in children. Some crooked teeth are hereditary, or it may be due to overcrowding or early removal of children’s baby teeth. Crooked teeth can increase the risk of decay (as they are more difficult to clean) and make it more difficult for children to bite and chew food normally. Straight teeth are also more aesthetically appealing.
In most instances, crooked teeth can be corrected through use of orthodontics.
Teeth turn yellow for a range of reasons, including sub-optimal diet, poor dental hygiene, trauma to the teeth, exposure to fluoride or antibiotics during the development of the teeth, a reaction to iron in multivitamins, or genetic disorders.
Your dentist will need to identify the reason for yellowing teeth before they can prescribe treatment.
Buck teeth, otherwise known as an overbite, occurs where the upper front teeth point outwards instead of straight down, protruding over the bottom teeth and lip. This can cause premature tooth wear, increased dental decay and discomfort on biting.
Buck teeth can occur naturally, and they can also result from a child sucking a dummy, their thumb or finger after their permanent teeth have erupted. We recommend getting your child to ditch their dummy and thumb or finger sucking habit before the age of 2 ½ to minimise the risk of developing buck teeth.
If a child develops buck teeth, orthodontic braces are the most successful method of correcting them.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a habit developed by some children, with up to three in ten kids grinding or clenching their teeth at some time. Bruxism normally occurs when the child is in a deep sleep or whilst under stress.
In some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren’t aligned properly, or as a response to pain. Another known cause is stress, usually nervous tension or anger. Some hyperactive children experience bruxism, and sometimes kids with other medical conditions (such as cerebral palsy) or on certain medications can develop bruxism.
Thankfully, most kids grow out of this habit. Where bruxism damage the teeth or cause pain, dentists may prescribe a special night mouthguard that is moulded to the child’s teeth. The mouthpiece usually results in this habit being broken quickly.
Tooth pain may be caused by an infection, resulting from tooth decay, a cracked or broken tooth or periodontal disease. The infection is caused when bacteria enters the tooth’s soft tissue (pulp). The abscess needs to be treated before it results in serious infection in the teeth, jaw bone or other tissues.
The dentist may drain and clean the infection site, and may prescribe antibiotics to destroy the bacteria. In severe cases, tooth extraction or root canal treatment may be needed.
Thankfully, most teeth problems in children are relatively easy to treat. Ensure your child has regular dental check-ups to identify and treat any teeth problems quickly.