If you are the parent of a child who has not yet reached school age, you may only have minimal concerns about their oral health. Nevertheless, parents may be surprised to find that multiple dental issues may affect children before they reach kindergarten.
Here are a few oral health conditions that are likely to affect young children.
Tongue-tie occurs when the frenulum, the connective tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too short. The condition can make it difficult for young babies to nurse or feed properly. Additionally, it can hinder the proper formation of words as a child learns to speak.
The tongue may become less bound over time through the child's natural growth process. However, there are instances in which the tongue does not free itself quickly enough or continues to remain in a tied state indefinitely.
Nevertheless, tongue-tie is treatable. The dentist can snip the frenulum using surgical scissors or a scalpel. The procedure, which is called a frenulectomy, is relatively painless and offers immediate results.
Baby Bottle Decay
Baby bottle decay is a severe form of tooth decay that affects children who are still bottle-fed. As the child drinks substances other than water from a bottle, the contents rest on the teeth.
Many of the substances that a child consumes through a bottle, such as milk or juice, contain a significant amount of natural sugar. The sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth. As they digest the simple carbohydrates, the microbes release acid that dissolves the minerals of the tooth material, causing dental decay.
Baby bottle decay tends to cause considerable damage to the teeth because many children are given a bottle to help soothe them to sleep. As children rest, their swallowing reflex relaxes. Thus, the fluids from the bottle pool or collect in the mouth, bathing the teeth in the sugars for prolonged periods.
Some young children develop crooked teeth at an early age. Although the teeth may be arranged in a misaligned manner due to the natural growth pattern, they may also become crooked because of childhood habits, such as thumb-sucking and pacifier use.
As a child sucks their thumb, pressure is applied to the back of the upper front teeth. This pressure can coax the teeth into a forward position, causing an overbite. Additionally, pacifiers that are not orthodontic may result in a similar misalignment.
To have the condition of your child's teeth assessed and treated, schedule a consultation with a family dentist in your local area.