5 Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Just as the needs of dental care change as children grow, so do the potential dental problems which may arise. Understanding common dental problems during childhood is a great way to help your child pursue the best possible oral health.



Will your child have any of these five common dental problems? We handle these and other oral issues at Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in a child friendly, stress-free atmosphere. Check out these probable dental problems and remedies:

Tooth decay

Often called nursing bottle syndrome, childhood tooth decay occurs when the baby’s teeth are in regular contact with milk sugars or other liquids. When children fall asleep with unswallowed milk, they are at a higher risk of tooth decay.

There are a variety of things you can do to protect against the loss of the toddler tooth. Use plain water or a pacifier to give your baby warmth and peace during the day, rather than a bottle of milk or juice. Also, make sure to stop using the bottle to bring your baby into bed. It will take several hours to expose the baby’s teeth to sugars. Last, ask the dentist about the need for fluoride in your child. Treatment with fluoride is very effective in stopping the growth of cavities.

Tongue thrusting

Babies who are breastfed or bottle-fed will have a natural tongue thrust but they should develop new patterns of swallowing and speaking as they get older. It may cause speech disorders and orthodontic issues as the tongue thrust continues past the infant stage and into early childhood.

If it looks like the tongue has too much forward movement during swallowing and speaking, you can tell that your kid has this problem. The tongue sometimes pushes into the back of the teeth. A pediatric dentist may prescribe different therapies to resolve the issue, such as an open bite correction system called a “tongue crib” and/or orofacial myology. This therapy corrects tongue, jaw, and lip placement and improves the swallowing habits.

Sucking thumb

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex which helps children feel safe and learn about the world. But once the permanent teeth come in, that habit can change the teeth’s structure and create problems of alignment. Aggressive thumb sucking can often also damage baby teeth. Please consult your pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL if you are concerned about this or notice changes in the primary teeth of your toddler.

Canker sores

Canker sores also occur when children are ill or the seasons alter. Food allergies can cause them too. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for these sores but in about two weeks they’ll heal on their own. Dr. McDonald recommends a bland diet to avoid irritating the sores, and stay away from spicy and crunchy foods. Make sure to keep your child hydrated and don’t use topical creams over-the-counter, because they can only irritate the sore more.

Grinding teeth

You may be surprised to learn that many kids find teeth grinding normal. This practice usually stops when the permanent teeth start coming in. In cases where the grinding gets worse when the permanent teeth erupt, treatment may be required. Grinding can cause persistent headaches and damage the tooth enamel in children and adults alike. The pediatric dentist can prescribe a mouthguard at night to protect the teeth against the harmful effects of grinding.

At Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we treat these common problems everyday! We are one of the best pediatric dental practices in Tinley Park IL. Choose your best pediatric dentist in Tinley Park IL.