Oral Health Issues That Affect Children

2 October 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Oral health problems may occur at any age. Still, most parents want their kids to maintain healthy teeth as the children grow older. Here are some of the issues that may affect a child as he or she grows.

Baby Bottle Decay in Babies and Toddlers

Oral health problems can occur even for the youngest dental patients. Babies and toddlers experience tooth decay and gum inflammation.

One type of tooth decay that is particularly detrimental for babies and toddlers is baby bottle decay. Baby bottle decay is most common among youngsters who drink milk or juice through a bottle, especially when the youngsters ingest the milk as they rest.

Many babies and toddlers sip milk or juice through a bottle at bed time. The sucking soothes the children as they drift off to sleep. Once the patients fall asleep and the swallowing reflex relaxes, the milk or juice pools in the mouth, bathing the teeth in sugar.

Since sugar, including natural sugars, are metabolized by oral bacteria, damage to the teeth results. The bacteria emit acid as a digestive product. This acid dissolves the minerals of the tooth enamel to cause tooth decay.

Additionally, saliva production declines during rest, leaving the bacterial acid undiluted. As a result, the damage to the teeth is even more pronounced.

In order to avoid baby bottle decay, children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as possible. In addition, if a bottle is still used as a child enters toddlerhood, it should only contain water. Milk and juice should only be provided in a cup.

Cavities in School-Age Children

Children of school age are often plagued by dental caries. Kids love candy, sweets, and starchy foods. The junk food not only causes poor overall health, but it also damages the teeth. 

The sugars in sweet or starchy foods feed the bacteria in the mouth to incite the release of acids. As the tooth enamel becomes weakened in particular areas, cavities form. 

To lessen the chance of a child developing cavities, healthy, low-sugar snacks and foods should be provided. In addition, the child should be encouraged to brush twice daily for at least two minutes. The child should also floss daily. 

Preventive dental care is also important to help kids avoid cavities. Dentists frequently help strengthen and protect the teeth with fluoride treatments and dental sealants. 

For more information about protecting your child's dental health as he or she grows, schedule an appointment with a family dentist in your local area.