Health and safety

Knowing the Common Dental Problems and Its Causes

Thumb Sucking

Thumb Sucking

As soon as you read the heading you would have understood why I have put this on the first place. Because it’s so very common and one of the biggest headaches for all the new mum’s. Though it’s a part of normal development when left uncontrolled may result in abnormal facial growth changes in the position of teeth and occlusion.

Why is it a part of normal development? It in fact is a very important part of normal development. Now I tell you why exactly. This part of development is known as the sucking reflex.

This reflex occurs in the oral stage of development and is seen even in the 29th week of IUL and disappears in the normal growth between 1 to 3 1/2 years of age. It is said to be the first coordinated muscle activity of the infant. And is needed to meet both the psychological and nutritive needs during feeding.

Apart from seeking nutritional satisfaction they also experience pleasurable stimuli from lips tongue and oral mucosa and associate this with fondling and closeness of the parent. Babies who are restricted from this sucking due to any disease or other factors are known to be restless and irritable and this may motivate them to suck the thumb for additional satisfaction.

Finger sucking habits are normal for the first one and half years of life and disappears spontaneously with proper attention to feeding and closeness of the parent.

When parents don’t take good care of their children a feeling of insecurity develop and therefore they use their thumb to obtain a secure feeling. If it continues beyond three years it leads to abnormal positioning of teeth and thus malocclusion.

Fracture of Teeth

Fracture of Teeth
Another common problem with kids is fracture or knocking of teeth. Kids being so “hyper active” can completely be out of control of such occurrence but yet it can be avoided. That’s why it’s so important for parents to keep a watch on their children so that they don’t end up with anything serious.

But yet it’s always good to know what to do when such things happen. First and for most parents don’t panic and don’t blame yourself for it, cool it happens. Panicking will do you no good. Now here in this article I am taking only about injuries in the head and the mouth. The thing is injuries in these areas bleed a lot.

Now when such occurrence happen you have to clean the area first and locate the source of bleeding. Once located give pressure with a clean wet cloth or cotton to stop the bleeding. The bleeding normally stops within 20 to 30 minutes. These areas around the mouth and lips being so soft may swell within few minutes of fall.

Now examine the child’s mouth for any fracture or knocking of teeth. If teeth is dislocated within the socket using clean hands re position it to the original position. Go to the dentist immediately. If teeth is broken or chipped out, try to locate the broken piece of tooth if found keep it moist in milk or saliva and go to the dentist immediately now depending upon the severity the tooth fragment could be replaced or filled.

In case where the tooth is completely knocked out of the socket and the teeth is located within half an hour if the teeth is handled with care it can be re-implanted. “Now here the root portion of the teeth should be handled carefully don’t touch this portion”. Here again keep it in milk or saliva.

In all the cases a visit to a dentist for treatment and to rule out all complications is required as quick as possible.

Gum Disease

The gums plays a very important role in the maintenance of healthy teeth. Gum disease is the common cause of tooth loss in adult. So it is very important to maintain healthy gums whether it be kids or adult. Plaque accumulation on the teeth has a very ill-effect on the teeth. It leads to swollen and bleeding gums both in adults and kids a condition known as gingivitis. But the good news here’s in children with this condition is reversible.

The most common cause of gum diseases arise from plaque accumulation. It’s also seen during puberty due to the great hormonal changes. Vitamin C deficiency also causes gum inflammation even ulceration may occur. In severe cases with pain an immediate visit to dentist and getting it treated is necessary.

Acid Erosion of Teeth

Acid Erosion of Teeth
Tooth erosion is when the acid dissolves the enamel that is the outer protective layer of teeth. You must be wondering now from where this acid comes from? Acid in the mouth comes not only from bacteria that cause decay but also from acidic foods like soft drinks, fruit juices (e.g.: orange juice).

These acidic foods are known to partially dissolve the enamel of the tooth. And thus it is advised to give fruit juices in meal time and avoid at night times as the acids will be exposed for a long time and will cause more damage.

These fruit juices should be diluted with more amount of water before they are given to kids. It can preferably give with a straw so that, minimum teeth get exposed to the drink. And you’re not supposed to brush the teeth before 30 minutes from having such food stuffs.

It’s better to have some plain water as it neutralizes the acids. Solid fruits are also said to be acidic but chewing increases saliva and saliva is said to neutralize the acid. It is advisable to limit such drinks. And children should have them not more than three times a day.

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About the author

Dr. Shreen Fatima

The writer is a practising dentist who has a passion for kids dental health and who herself enjoys dealing with kids. Being herself a mother of a kid wants to share her knowledge on dental health care for the benefit of the child's well-being.