Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Oral Health Problems in Children/pediatric dentistry

Oral health problem in children/pediatric dentistry
There are a number of problems that affect the oral health of children which includes tooth decay, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, and early tooth loss. Even though milk teeth or baby’s  teeth are replaced with permanent teeth then also keeping baby teeth healthy is important for child's overall health and well-being.Pediatric dentistry/children dentistry
Baby bottle tooth decay
Children Dentistry
Baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottle tooth decay also called early childhood caries, nursing caries  and nursing bottle syndrome occurs when a baby's is between 18 months and 3 years of age and baby’s teeth are in frequent contact with sugars from liquid carbohydrates, such as fruit juices, milk, formula, fruit juice diluted with water, sugar water or any other sweet drink. Human breast milk can cause tooth decay as well. As these liquids break down in the mouth into simple sugars and are allowed to sit in the mouth, bacteria start feeding on the sugars, causing tooth decay. If this left untreated decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult for child to  chew and eat. Baby’s teeth also serve as "space maintainers or saver" for adult teeth. If baby teeth are damaged or destroyed, they can't help guide permanent teeth into their proper position, possibly resulting in crowded or crooked permanent teeth. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, with the possibility of infection spreading elsewhere. The upper front teeth are most vulnerable to damage from nursing bottle mouth.Pediatric dentistry/children dentistry
Prevention & treatment  of baby bottle tooth decay
Baby left with bottle in mouth during sleep
children dentistry
  • At any time, don't dip your baby's pacifier in sugar, honey, or any sugary liquid.
  • .
  •  At bedtime, don't put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids watered-down fruit juice or milk. Give plain water.
  •   Don't allow your baby to nurse continuously throughout the night while sleeping, since human breast milk can cause decay. Use a pacifier or give a bottle filled with plain water instead.
  • Don't add sugar to your child's food
  •    Use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe your child's teeth and gums after each feeding. This helps remove any bacteria-forming plaque and excess sugar that have built up on the teeth and gums.
  • Teach your baby to drink from a cup by his or her first birthday. Moving to a "sippy cup" reduces the teeth's exposure to sugars
How to clean baby's mouth

Thumb sucking/Pediatric dentistry/children dentistry
Thumb sucking is the placement of thumb or one or more fingers in varying depths in the mouth. Generally, it's normal and healthy for infants to suck their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or toys. Object sucking gives children a sense of emotional security and comfort. However, if thumb sucking continues beyond the age of 5 ,when the permanent teeth begin to erupt, dental problems may occur. Depending on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and create an overbite. The child may also have difficulty with the correct pronunciation of words. In addition, the upper and lower jaws can become misaligned and the roof of the mouth might become malformed.
Thumb sucking
children dentistry
How to stop child thumb sucking
  • First of all you should keep in mind that thumb sucking is normal and should not be a concern of parents unless the habit continues as the permanent teeth begin to emerge. It is usually said that children lacking parental care, love and affection resort to this habit. Thus the parents should be counselled to provide the child with adequate love and affection.
  • The child must make the decision on their own to stop sucking their thumb or fingers before the habit will cease. To help toward this goal, parents and family members can offer encouragement and positive reinforcement. Thumb sucking is a security mechanism act such as scolding, nagging, or punishments are generally ineffective. This makes children defensive and driving them back to the habit. Instead, give praise or rewards for time successfully avoiding the habit. Gradually increase the time needed without sucking to achieve the reward. The younger the child, the more frequent the rewards will need to be given.
  •  For children who want to stop, cover the finger or thumb with a band-aid as a reminder. Take the thumb or finger out of the mouth after the child falls asleep.some bitter chemicals can also be used such as pepper ,quinine and asafoetida.
  • Dunlop put forward a theory called beta hypothesis that states that the best way to break a habit is by its conscious, purposeful repetition. Dunlop suggested that the child should be asked to sit in front of a large mirror and asked to suck his thumb observing himself as he indulges in the habit. The procedure is very effective if the child is asked to do the same at a time when he is involved in an enjoyable activity
  • To help older children break the habit, parents should try to determine why their child is doing it -- find out what stresses your child faces and try to correct the situation. Once the problem is gone, the child often finds it is easier to give up sucking. If this doesn't work, you should contact pediatric dentist(children dentist) who will give dental appliances to the child to wear in the mouth to prevent sucking. These appliances can be removable as well as fixed and  are cemented to the upper teeth, sit on the roof of the mouth and make thumb sucking harder and therefore less pleasurable.

Tongue thrusting-pediatric dentistry/children dentistry
Tongue thrust is a condition in which the tongue makes contact with any teeth anterior to the molars during swallowing. Just like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting exerts pressure against the front teeth, pushing them out of alignment, which causes them to protrude, creating an overbite and possibly interfering with proper speech development.
  • Retained infantile swallow.
  • Upper respiratory tract infection.
  •  Neurological disturbance
  •   Macroglossia
  •   Retrogonatic mandible
  •   As associated with thumb sucking
  •   Improper feeding habits

  • Various muscle exercise of the tongue. Ask the patient to count 60-69
  • Yawing
  •  Whistling
  • Lip exercise
  • Trainers-the child is taught correct method of swallowing
  •  Habit breakers given by dentist(pediatric dentist,children dentist) such as removable cribs or rakes, oral screen

Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing can be because of complete or partial obstruction of nasal passage
  •  Deviated nasal septum.
  • Nasal polyp.
  • Obstructive adenoids.
  • chronic inflammation of nasal mucosa. 
  • Allergic reaction of nasal mucosa
  •  Localised benign tumors
  • Mouth breathing can also be habitual
  • Mouth breating is also common in child whose lip morphology does not permit complete closure of the mouth.

  •   Removal of nasal obstruction-consult ENT
  • Deep breathing exercise
  •   Oral screen
Lip sucking/pediatric dentistry/children dentistry

Lip sucking involves repeatedly holding the lower lip beneath the upper front teeth. Sucking of the lower lip may occur by itself or in combination with thumb sucking. This practice results in an overbite and the same kinds of problems as discussed with thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Stopping the habit involves the same steps as described for stopping thumb sucking.
Early tooth loss/pediatric dentistry/children dentistry
Premature loss of a child's primary teeth typically occurs due to tooth decay, injury, or lack of jaw space.If teeth are lost before the permanent teeth emerge, the nearby teeth can tip or shift into the space now unoccupied. When a permanent tooth tries to emerge into its space, there may not be enough room. The new tooth may emerge tilted. Crooked or misaligned teeth can cause a range of problems from interfering with proper chewing to causing temporomandibular joint problems.If your child loses a tooth prematurely, your dentist(pediatric dentist, children dentist) may recommend a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a plastic or metal device that holds open the space left by the missing tooth. Your dentist(pediatric dentist,children dentist) will remove the device once the permanent teeth begin to erupt.Pediatric dentistry/children dentistry


  1. when should we consider thumb sucking abdormal? when to contact dentist

  2. Thumb sucking is considered normal till 5 years, beyond that u should contact dentist.First of all you should find the cause, give proper attention to the child.you can also try things at home such as you can tie ban-aids in the thumb or even adhesive tapes also..it then also the child does not quit thumb sucking you can contact dentist.

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  5. This is nice information blog. Thanks for Sharing.

  6. Taking good care of your children's oral well-being should be the priority of all parents. People almost always focus on their children's outward well bring, and tend to neglect the small issues like taking care of their teeth.

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  8. Children's dentists or pediatric dentists play a significant role in creating a child feel at ease when he/she arrives for a dental check-up.

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  9. Interesting information about Pediatric Dentistry..Thanks for posting and keep blogging..

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  10. A proper dental care is really important for children so that their tooth stay in good condition even when they get old.

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