How to Prevent Tooth Decay or Dental Problems in Children?

Right from the period of teething there are numerous dental problems in children that can influence their overall health and well being. Fortunately in most cases the problem is not a serious issue, since dental treatment is easily accessible for children in modern times. However, parents have a bigger role to play in childhood dental problems as many of them can be prevented in first place. Given below is the list of common dental problem in children:

  • Tooth decay and cavities.
  • Dental erosion.
  • Gum problems.
  • Sensitive tooth.
  • Malocclusion.
  • Tongue thrusting.
  • Thumb sucking.

Causes of Dental Decay or Tooth Carries in Children

Tooth decay or childhood carries, is the second most common ailment after cold in United States.

Childhood carries occur when the teeth come in contact with sugars very frequently. Especially sugars present in fruit juices, chocolates and candies, sweet drink, milk formulas etc. The sugar present in the said items breaks down in the mouth and settles on the teeth. Bacteria present in the mouth feed on the sugar and that leads to teeth decay. When the problem is unattended, it causes further teeth deterioration leading to toothache, swelling of gums and increased sensitivity while eating and drinking. Ultimately tooth decay affects the child’s health as he is not able to eat and chew the food.

Dental Erosion:

More and more children are getting affected with dental erosion day by day. Thanks to carbonated drinks and fruit juices flooded in market! Juices and carbonated beverages are acidic in nature, when the child drinks it too often as most children do; the acidic medium present in juices and colas erode the tooth enamel. This makes the teeth more sensitive to liquids and food. It may also disfigure and discolor the teeth.

Gum Disease:

Infection in the gums which is also known as periodontitis is also common among children. Improper dental care among children can lead to inflammation of gums, the condition is called gingivitis.

If the disease is left untreated, the gums swell and become tender, the teeth become loose, there is associated bad breath and the teeth becomes painful.

Sensitive Tooth:

It is also a common dental problem among children. The teeth become very sensitive to cold and hot liquids; it causes shooting and pulsating toothache from least touch of cold or hot liquids. It is most discomforting problem faced by a child which prevents him to eat his regular food.


There is improper alignment of teeth in some children and this can affect proper linear growth of teeth in children. With crooked teeth, it becomes difficult for the child to eat and bite food. Malocclusion can also affect his speech.

Thumb Sucking: thumb sucking in children is considered as normal till certain age, however, once the permanent teeth starts emerging constant thumb sucking can lead to misalignment and protruding teeth.

Tongue Thrusting: constant tongue thrusting puts pressure on the front teeth, this causes them to protrude out and there is misalignment of the teeth. Tongue thrusting frequently can affect the child’s speech.

Premature Loss of Tooth: in children it can occur as a result of injury, decay and misalignment.

These are some of the common dental problems in children in brief.

How to Prevent Dental Problems in Children

Parents play an important role in preventing dental problems in their children. Every parent should teach their child to eat healthy food and clean their teeth daily. The following steps focus on how to take care of milk teeth as well as new permanent teeth among children.

Clean the Teeth: when the child is very young, parents has to take the responsibility of cleaning the child’s teeth. Once he grows up make a habit of cleaning with them.

No to Sugar Rich Food: since sugars are the main culprit for dental carries and decay in children, avoid giving those candies and chocolates, sugar rich juices and colas. Instead give them healthy and nutritious food loaded with vitamins and minerals. Especially calcium containing food such as low fat milk is good for teeth.

Massage the gums with your finger when the child is small. It strengthens the gums and teeth.

Check the teeth at least once in a month. If you find any spots or line on teeth or gums, or a dark tooth it is a sign of tooth decay. Soon take an appointment with a dentist.

Use tooth paste containing fluorides while brushing children teeth. Fluoride is considered good for preventing dental decay. To an extent it can also reverse the tooth decay if it is in the early stage.

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