6 Signs Your Child May Have an Oral Issue

As parents, we want our children to be as healthy as possible. That includes their oral health. Here are six signs of potential issues and what to do about them.

Sudden or Acute Pain

The biggest sign of an oral issue is when your child complains of pain in their mouth without an apparent cause. A toothache could be the result of a cavity developing, pain in their gums could be an infection, and jaw pain could be a condition like TMJ or bruxism. The best solution for pain is to make an appointment with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and address the issue.

Swollen Gums

Even infants can experience swollen or painful gums if not given the proper oral care after feeding. If you see your child’s gums are swollen, it’s a likely indicator of infection. They may be a normal pink, a bright red, or a mix of the two.

Swollen, painful gums are usually the beginnings of gingivitis. Gingivitis often occurs when plaque accumulates in between the teeth and the gums. If left untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease, which is an advanced form of gum disease that can lead to other health issues.

Make an appointment with your pediatric dentist for a thorough cleaning and examination if you see swelling of the gums.

Spots on the Teeth

Spots on your child’s teeth could be cavities, especially if you brush them and they don’t come off. Cavities, if left untreated, can lead to cracks in their tooth or even infection. An infection can spread to your child’s bloodstream and cause other issues with their overall health.

Get the cavity cleaned and filled as soon as you can. Make sure your child practices proper oral hygiene habits to help avoid cavities in the future.

Sensitive Teeth

We all experience tooth sensitivity from time to time, especially when consuming hot or cold beverages. However, if this becomes a recurring problem for your child, it could be a more serious oral health issue.

Sensitive teeth are usually caused by a decaying tooth or fragile enamel. Either cause needs to be addressed by your child’s dentist. If there isn’t another root cause, usually an enamel-strengthening sensitivity toothpaste is enough to provide relief.

Excessive Space Between Teeth

While your child may need orthodontia eventually for normal teeth straightening, if they have very large gaps between their teeth, that presents a problem.

Teeth that fit snugly against each other help prevent gum disease. When too much of the gum line is open, bacteria can enter. This again causes gingivitis and potential periodontal disease.

Mouth Ulcers

A bit rarer of an issue, ulcers in the mouth are still unpleasant. They can be caused by injury to the mouth, like if your child bites their cheek. However, they can also be chronic and recurring.

If your child is experiencing recurring, painful mouth ulcers, they need to be examined by their pediatric dentist. The dentist will provide a treatment plan to reduce the pain and heal the ulcer.

Any of these signs are a good reason to take your child to their dentist sooner than their next checkup. But many of these conditions can be caught and treated early by keeping a regular checkup schedule. Take your child to their dentist every 6 months to help spot issues early and keep them from happening to begin with.

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and the world of fitness.
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