As soon as you see a tooth erupt in your child's mouth, you should start brushing their teeth. Flossing begins when they have two or more teeth in a row that have grown in. Even with good oral hygiene and regular brushing, your child may deal with some dental issues. The following include problems that are common among toddlers and young children. By knowing about them beforehand, you can work to prevent them.
Bottle Tooth Decay
If your baby uses a bottle frequently, they risk getting premature tooth decay. This happens when your baby's teeth are in contact with the sugar from certain drinks, including formula, milk, and fruit juice. When your baby drinks from a bottle, that liquid tends to stay around their front teeth and can eventually lead to tooth decay. When the liquids break down in the mouth, they turn to sugars that can cause excessive bacteria and then tooth decay. This is another reason why you should bring your child to the dentist when their first teeth come in.
To prevent tooth decay from bottles, only give them a bottle when they are hungry or thirsty, and never to comfort them. This is a bad habit that is hard to break, not to mention how bad it is for their teeth. You should also not put your baby to bed with a bottle that has juice or milk. Instead, fill their bottle with water.
Sucking Their Thumb
A lot of babies and toddlers suck their thumb, as it offers them comfort and emotional security. Unfortunately, sucking their thumb, fingers, or pacifiers can be bad for their teeth. While it should be okay when your baby is young, try to break the habit when their permanent teeth start to come in. Sucking on their thumbs or pacifiers as a young, school-aged child with permanent teeth can lead to alignment issues and an overbite. Give your child praise when they aren't sucking their thumb to give positive reinforcement, instead of trying to punish them when they do it. If you want to remind the child not to suck their thumb, you can try covering it with a bandage.
Another bad habit young children do that leads to orthodontic issues is tongue thrusting. This is when the child closes their mouth and pushes the top of their tongue toward their lips. The constant pressure being put against their front teeth can eventually lead to an overbite, alignment, or even improper speech development. If you notice your child doing this, ask your family dentist if they recommend any ways to get them to stop. You can also use similar methods of encouragement when they stop the habit, as you did with stopping the thumb sucking.