The newsLINK Group - Your Child and Red Flags for Poor Oral Health

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Pediatric Dentistry Topics: Child Oral Health Title: Your Child and Red Flags for Poor Oral Health Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: As your child is growing and developing, you might notice some of the following red flags that indicate the likely development of dental problems. If you do, then please contact your pediatric dentist for advice as soon as possible. Editorial: Your Child and Red Flags for Poor Oral Health 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 As your child is growing and developing, you might notice some of the following red flags that indicate the likely development of dental problems. If you do, then please contact your pediatric dentist for advice as soon as possible. Nursing Bottle Syndrome This is also sometimes called nursing caries or baby bottle tooth decay. Any liquid with sugar promotes cavities; the longer the liquid stays on the teeth, the more likely cavities become. Don’t teach your child to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup, and drink water anytime except mealtime. Your child should transition from a bottle to a sippy cup by age one, then quickly transition from a sippy cup to a regular cup. Missing or Decayed Teeth Baby teeth provide permanent teeth with a pattern. Teeth that are missing or decayed can cause crooked permanent teeth. Crooked teeth make it harder to chew food correctly, they are harder to keep clean, and they can cause other painful health problems such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which affects where the jaw is attached to the skull. Among other things, your pediatric dentist may be able to prevent a problem with crooked teeth by using space maintainers. Sucking the Thumb or Lip Some infants suck their thumbs for comfort and security. Sucking a thumb is normal and healthy, and it doesn’t cause a problem unless it continues after the permanent teeth have started to come in, which is usually around the age of five. Thumb sucking can cause the jaw and the roof of the mouth to be misaligned, so that the child then develops an overbite or teeth that protrude. Thumb sucking can also affect speech development. In some cases, children suck the lower lip with the upper teeth, or combine lip sucking with thumb sucking. The resultant problems are the same as they are for plain thumb sucking. Sometimes teething babies will put their fingers in their mouths as well. The seriousness of the problem depends on how frequently and how intensely the child is sucking. If your child is still thumb, finger, or lip sucking for comfort by the age of five, there might be underlying problems or issues. If you can figure out what is going on, then maybe you can help your child stop. Tongue Thrusting If a child presses the tongue against the lips hard enough, the tongue can push the teeth enough to make them protrude. You may need a speech pathologist to help your child build up the chewing muscles and change the swallowing pattern. Poor Nutrition Offer healthy foods at mealtime, and limit snacks as much as possible to things that won’t damage your child’s teeth. Fruits and vegetables are good choices. Sweet, sticky foods like raisins, jelly beans, and snack bars can contribute to cavities. The best time to eat something sweet and sticky is at the end of the meal, so it mixes with other foods. Practice good dental hygiene by having your child brush regularly. The minimum is twice a day, but it’s a good idea to brush after eating any food. Offer plenty of water, and if you or your child chews gum, buy sugar-free gum or gum sweetened with xylitol. Sources: “Red Flags for Poor Oral Health in Your Child,” by Greg Johnstone, no date, article emailed to me by Sophie Word Count: 534 Copyscape Clear Date: 12.15.2014

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