Common Dental Problems Among Children in America

So, you thought only adults need to worry about dental health? According to statistics released by the World Health Organization, dental caries (the primary cause of cavities) continues to be a major dental health problem in most industrialized countries, with 60%-90% of schoolchildren being affected by it. To add to this, the CDC has revealed that 17.5% of children aged 5 to 19 years live with untreated dental caries in the United States. If you have children, the sooner you start taking care of their oral hygiene, the better it will be for the rest of their lives.

According to Darling Dental Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, a leading clinic for pediatric dentist in Katy, TX, who even provides dental implants, some of the most common dental problems faced by children in America are as follows.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Also known as nursing caries or early childhood caries, this problem is caused by the baby’s teeth coming in prolonged and frequent contact with sugary drinks, including milk, fruit juices, formula, etc. Unfortunately, dentists in Katy, TX, explain that sugar that is broken down by the bacteria in the mouth produces acid as a byproduct. This acid then attacks the baby’s teeth, stripping it of minerals that are present in the tooth enamel and leading to tooth decay. If left untreated, kids dentists in Katy say that the decayed teeth could even lead to pain, as well as difficulty in chewing and eating. It could even lead to abscesses, from which the infection could spread to other parts of the mouth.

Thumb Sucking

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Most infants tend to suck on something, whether it is a pacifier or their own fingers. However, this habit can become a cause for concern if it continues till a later age. For instance, when a child’s permanent teeth begin to emerge, the sucking action could push the new teeth out of alignment, leading to protruding teeth of an overbite. This is not only an aesthetic problem, it could also lead to speech difficulties and eating incorrectly. While infants find sucking on something relaxing and something that gives them comfort, the American Dental Association recommends that this habit should stop by the age of 2-4 years. While most children seem to outgrow this habit, others might need help to stop.

Gum Disease

Also known as gingivitis, gum disease leads to inflammation of the gums, and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene and the accumulation of plaque over time. Gingivitis could progress to result in tooth loss and even bone damage. In the early stages of gum disease, the gums might appear red and swollen, as well as bleed. It usually also leads to bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth. The good news is that it is easily preventable if the child is taught to brush and floss their teeth regularly.

Early Tooth Loss

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The premature loss of primary teeth is usually caused by injury, tooth decay or lack of space on the jaw. The problem with early tooth loss, before the permanent teeth have begun to merge, is that the adjacent teeth could shift into the vacated space, not leaving enough space for the new teeth to emerge into their rightful space. This would lead the new teeth to come out tilted or crooked, leading to misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth, in turn, could lead to a plethora of problems, such as difficulty in chewing properly.

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