6 Early Childhood Dental Health Issues and How to Deal with Them

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Guest Blogger, Shen Chao

There are a lot of problems that affect your child’s dental health such as early loss of teeth, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and tooth decay. Maintaining your child’s baby teeth in good health and proper alignment is important to your child’s overall health in the long term.

Here are 6 early dental health issues that children face and how to prevent them:

  1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

What and How: Baby tooth decay is also known as early childhood caries which occurs due to your baby’s teeth staying in prolonged contact with sugary drinks like sugary water, formula, milk and fruit juices.

The sugar is broken down in your mouth which produces a byproduct of acid which wears down the minerals found in your tooth enamel which further leads to tooth decay.

Solution: You can prevent tooth decay by:

  1. Give your baby a pacifier or a bottle filled with plain water instead of milk or sugary drinks.
  2. Don’t let your baby’s pacifier come into contact with any sugary liquid.
  3. Don’t ever let your baby sleep with a bottle full of any sugary liquid. Only give them a small amount of water or a pacifier instead.
  4. Remove your breast from your baby’s mouth after he/she falls asleep.
  5. Avoid adding sugar to your baby’s food.
  6. Wipe your baby’s teeth and gums with a gauze or wet cloth after feeding.
  7. Consult your dentist about your child’s fluoride requirements. You may have to fluoridate your water if necessary.
  8. Teach your baby to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday at the earliest. Moving on to a sippy cup reduces your child’s teeth’s exposure to sugars.

 

  1. Thumb Sucking

What and How: It’s very difficult to find an infant that doesn’t suck on something, whether it be their pacifier, their fingers or their toys. Sucking on an object just when your baby’s teeth are erupting can throw your baby’s teeth out of alignment, causing them to have protruding or crooked teeth as well as leading to overbites. It can also teach your children to eat incorrectly and cause speech problems.

Solution: Thumb sucking isn’t such a big problem until your child’s permanent teeth begin erupting. Once your child’s adult teeth start erupting, you should encourage your child to stop sucking his thumb. This can be a bit difficult as sucking your thumb is generally a coping and safety mechanism that can have the opposite of its intended effect, pushing your child to suck his thumb even more.

Try and praise your child for refraining from sucking his thumb and follow it up with a reward. You can then slowly begin to increase the time that your child has to avoid sucking his/her thumb to get the reward.

  1. Lip Sucking and Tongue Thrusting

What and How: Tongue thrusting is the habit of sealing the mouth for swallowing by pushing the top of the tongue forward against the lips. Tongue thrusting puts extra pressure against the front teeth, which can push them out of alignment, this leads to interference with proper speech as well as creating an overbite.

Lip sucking also involves repeatedly holding your lower lip beneath the upper front teeth. Sucking the lower lip can occur on its own or in combination with thumb sucking. This practice leads to an overbite and the same types of tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.

Solution: You can stop the habit with the same technique that is required for stopping thumb sucking – positive reinforcement.

  1. Over Retained Baby Teeth

What and How: A baby tooth that is still in place with a permanent tooth trying to erupt underneath is usually termed as an “over-retained” tooth, which requires its removal. The presence of still having primary teeth in adults and teenagers can be a potential problem such as impacted permanent teeth or congenitally missing teeth.

Solution: The earlier you get diagnosed the better the chances of healing. Regular dental appointments allow your dentist to actively monitor your child’s oral growth and development.

  1. Orthodontic Problems and Teeth Grinding

What and How: A bite that does not meet properly is known as a malocclusion. It can either be acquired or inherited. Certain causes of malocclusion are misaligned jaws, crowded teeth, extra or even missing teeth. Accidents or developmental issues such as thumb or finger sucking for extended periods can cause malocclusions.

Solution: TMJ treatment such as occlusal splint therapy and night guards can be worn to prevent your child from grinding his teeth.

  1. Early Tooth Loss 

What and How: If your child loses their baby teeth before their permanent teeth erupt, it is usually caused by lack of jaw space, injury or tooth decay. If the baby teeth are left untreated, the rest of the teeth can crowd into the space that is intended for the permanent tooth.

Solution: To improve your child’s dental health, you need to first prevent your child from suffering from tooth decay for which you need to set an oral hygiene routine from a young age if you want your child to avoid tooth loss. Nutrition plays a large role in our oral health so try to feed your children sugar-free foods as much as possible. If your child’s tooth happens to fall out early, then your dentist will suggest the use of a space maintainer, a metal or plastic application that is designed to hold the space left by the missing teeth till the permanent tooth erupts.

Author Bio:

Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Dental Clinic in Goodyear, AZ. While working for the dental clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.

 

6 Road Trip Tips for Parents

Guest Post from Samantha Tung at Caliber Collision

Do you have a family road trip coming up and thinking about it makes you anxious? That is definitely a normal feeling, but don’t worry – this post has got you covered to minimize those worries. Sometimes traveling with young children can be stressful, tiring and exhausting. However, just think about those awesome memories you will make along the way. Read through some tips below to have the best road trip with your family!

Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire at pixabay.com6 Road Trip Tips for Parents

Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire at pixabay.com

  1. Pack All the Essentials

You don’t want to get to your destination and realize that you have forgotten something. Of course you can go purchase something if you’ve forgotten an item, but that is a way to waste money. Make sure you pack enough clothes, toiletries, and toys if you are traveling with little ones. You don’t want to forget their favorite blankie or toy back at home.

Since you will be traveling in the car, pack some mess-friendly snacks that your kids can enjoy while riding along. You can use a cereal container for use as a trash can so your car doesn’t accumulate lots of trash along the way. Don’t forget electronics along with chargers so you can document your trip as well.

Also, be sure to check the weather forecast so you can pack accordingly. Don’t forget a light jacket even if you’re going somewhere very warm; restaurants tend to be really cool.

  1. Check Your Vehicle

Before getting on the road before a road trip, it is crucial that you take the time to check your car. A car check can help prevent a lot of stress and help you arrive to your final destination without car problems. Be sure to check out your engine, headlights, tires (tire pressure), air and cabin filters, brakes, oil, and anything else you may need If you would like to get a second opinion, schedule a checkup at your favorite auto service center.

Along the same lines as a car checkup, you’re going to want to make sure you have a spare tire packed as well as an emergency kit that includes jumper cables, tools, flashlight, first-aid kit, etc. Since you will be spending a lot of time on the road in order to get to your destination, it is important you keep your precious cargo safe and secure!

  1. Plan and Prepare

Take time to plan and prepare the details and aspects of your road trip. Since you will be traveling with children, you might deal with a lot of stops to use the restroom or just for them to stretch their legs. Try not to plan too much but it can help to plan around stops you might make along the way. For example, if there’s a fun activity in a city you might pass through along the way to your destination, you might want to stop there to rest, have fun, and refuel.

Another part of your trip to prepare for is to keep your kids entertained. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of a seat. Since your kids will likely get bored and keep asking “are we there yet?” they can entertain themselves with loads of fun items stored right in front of them!

  1. Play Travel Games

Playing games in the car can definitely help pass the time when you’re on a long road trip. As we all know, kids get bored pretty easily and it is part of our jobs as parents to keep them entertained. Check out some of the best car games for kids like I Spy, the license plate game, and hangman.

The more activities you have prepared for your little ones, the easier and more relaxing your trip will be.

  1. Let Your Kids in on the Activity Planning

Instead of just planning the whole trip yourself, give your children some activity options so they can feel like they are a part of the process too. The kids are guaranteed to have more fun if they have a bit of a say in the trip and you know they will enjoy the activity if they’ve chosen it. Maybe even allow them to pick a restaurant one night or a dessert shop! Kids like to feel like their opinions matter too! J

  1. HAVE FUN

This is probably the most important tip to remember when taking a road trip. In the midst of all the traveling and planning, you can’t forget that you are making memories that you and your family will cherish for years to come. So, snap all the pictures you can, because your kids aren’t little ones forever! Enjoy your time together and have a blast!

Samantha Tung handles online media relations for Caliber Collision. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and automotive blogs, and in her spare time, she enjoys taking road trips and traveling.

Related Posts:

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5 Tips when Traveling with Kids