By Michelle Linzy
Maintaining good dental health is something children should learn at an early age – and parents can play a big part in that lesson. With a few tips from the pros and knowing what to watch out for, parents can be sure their children will have strong teeth and develop good dental habits. The top four concerns that dentists have about children’s dental health include:
1) Decay- areas of the teeth that become tiny openings or holes are also known as cavities. If the cavities are not treated, they become bigger and can cause infection, loss of tooth (teeth), severe toothache and other serious problems.
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According to Dr. Neal Green D.D.S., “The number one cause of tooth decay is sugar. Sodas and sports drinks are known as liquid candy to dentists. The average child can consume as much as 22 teaspoons of sugar a day or more. That combined with not seeing a dentist on a regular basis is leading to a rise in young children coming in with numerous, bad cavities. Parents must be the guardian of their child’s health and must learn to read labels carefully and look for hidden sugars such as dextrose, fructose, invert sugar, corn syrup, sucrose, molasses, honey and+ glucose to name a few.”
2) Crowding- a condition in which the teeth are too close together and have abnormal positions such as overlapping, displacement in various directions, or torsion. Tooth crowding can affect a person’s appearance, make it difficult to practice proper oral hygiene and brushing. This can lead to numerous oral diseases, infections, gingivitis, plaque buildup, cavities and gum disease.
3) Bite problems- Cross bite: Upper teeth fit inside lower teeth and when the child tries to bite down it shifts to one side. This can cause problems in the future with joints and with growth asymmetrically. Open bite: When the child bites down on their back teeth but the front teeth are still open and you can see the tongue through that hole. Deep bite: The top teeth overlap the bottom teeth and when the child smiles you cannot see as much of the bottom teeth as you would like.
4) Early tooth loss- this typically occurs due to injury, tooth decay or lack of jaw space. When teeth are lost before permanent teeth emerge, the teeth surrounding the area can shift or tip over into the unoccupied area. When the new tooth tries to emerge into the space there may not be room and the tooth may not come in straight causing crooked or misaligned teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth can cause problems with proper chewing leading to temporomandibular joint problems.
All of these issues can be addressed by speaking with your family’s dentist who can work with you to help prevent or adjust any potential problems.
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For more information about Dr. Neal Green, click here.