Dealing with kids’ health issues is always concerning for parents. You are always worried and most often you just have to “let it pass”. However, this is why all health workers focus on education and prevention. So many illnesses can easily be prevented by regular check-ups, a good diet and a lot of exercises, as well as vaccines and good hygiene habits. But when it comes to your kid’s teeth, it’s a bit different, since kids regularly have a fear of the dentist and an aversion to brushing their teeth. So let’s look at some of the most common problems and their solutions:
The most common problem with kids’ teeth is getting cavities, and the worst thing a parent can do is say “it’s just their baby teeth”. The reason kids get cavities is two-fold. Firstly, their diets are worse than ever. Kids are constantly eating sweets, processed foods full of sugar and fizzy drinks. All of these are very bad for their teeth, and if you combine it with not brushing their teeth in the morning and before going to bed, the sugars left in their mouth turn into acid and start corroding their teeth. Replace the processed sugar in your kids’ diet with fruit, which is not only good for their teeth, but for their overall health as well. If you are having a hard time getting them to brush, try turning it into a game. Put a timer up and make a marathon of who can get their teeth the cleanest in that time. Or, play a short cartoon but say that the video is only playing as long as they’re brushing their teeth. Remember: chewing gum is not a replacement for brushing teeth!
A lot of children have issues with misaligned teeth, requiring braces to set them straight. When I noticed my child was having trouble chewing food, I took him to our local Chatswood orthodontist to have his teeth checked out, and it turned out that he needed braces. Braces aren’t anything scary, and the sooner you figure out they need them – the better. If they only get braces once they’re developed, it will take a lot longer for the teeth to get back to the shape they need to, since their bones will be fully formed. If they’re already teenagers and they’re worried about friends teasing them for wearing braces, there are now options like Invisalign, which are completely invisible, so nobody will notice.
It’s something all kids do at one point, and it plays a lot of roles psychologically, such as soothing the gums when their teeth are coming out and calming them down by imitating a mother’s nipple. However, if they continue to do this when their permanent teeth come in, they can disrupt their oral health and make their teeth crooked. There are plenty of ways to get a child to stop sucking on their thumb, but it’s important to start as soon as their baby teeth start falling out.
Plenty of kids grind their teeth, especially during sleep. This tapers out and eventually completely disappears as they grow up, but if it persists, or if it’s especially violent during sleep, it can diminish the quality of their teeth. Luckily, they can wear a night guard while they sleep to protect their teeth from damage.
The most important oral hygiene habits you should instill in your kids are brushing their teeth and visiting the dentist regularly. You will save your kids both pain from tooth decay, and encourage them to seek out help as soon as they notice an issue. Remember to lead by example, as kids are much more likely to do as their parents do next to them.