Without question, healthy dental care habits are best established at a young age. Regular check-ups, brushing, flossing, fluoridation, and perhaps dental sealants, are considered important “early” measures to take. Why? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that while the majority of Americans (66 percent) visit the dentist each year, a large number of children and adults continue to experience oral infections and diseases that could be prevented. Specifically, up to 20 percent of preschoolers (ages 4, 5) have some tooth decay, while this percentage expands to nearly 50 percent by third grade, and nearly 75 percent by age 15. Thus, the idea of proactive dentistry for children is necessary, as it is designed to empower children to continue practicing good oral health as they age.
To better understand the types of dental problems experienced at developmental ages, continue reading below.
Infant Dental Concerns
- Candidiasis, Thrush: Caused by a fungus called Candida albicans, thrush may develop in the neonatal stage or it may present during infancy. It may appear as white patches on the tongue, cheeks, or throat, or in the diaper area as red lesions that are slightly raised.
- Teething: As a child’s first teeth begin to erupt, they suffer from teething symptoms such as excessive drooling, putting their fist in their mouth, swollen or red gums, and fussiness. It’s important to begin cleaning teeth as soon as they erupt.
Toddler Dental Concerns
- Nursing or Bottle Caries: Also known as baby bottle tooth decay, this occurs when young toddlers are permitted to sleep with their bottles. This leads to early cavity development, as areas of teeth turn brown.
- Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease: When blister bumps form on the palms of hands as well as the tongue, cheeks, and areas towards the throat, this could be hand, foot, and mouth disease.
While the most common dental concerns pertaining to preschool and school-aged children are cavities, cold sores and periodontal (gum) disease are also prevalent. Because the number of reported cases of dental caries and infection increase with age, pediatric dental professionals are devoting more time to patient and parent education, bringing attention to early problems that may contribute to bigger problems in the future.
At Vital Smiles, our practice is built upon the importance of oral health for children. That’s why we invite families from all communities and backgrounds to call us. Your child deserves access to proactive dental care that will enhance their quality of life for years to come.
Posted on behalf of Vital Smiles