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Pediatric Dental Problems to Look Out For

A dentist and her young patient giving a thumbs up to the camera.

When it comes to the dental health of children, prevention is always the best option. Regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing, and a balanced diet are essential for good dental health, however, some common pediatric dental problems may still arise.

Common Pediatric Dental Issues

Parents need to be aware of these common pediatric dental issues in order to prevent them from occurring or to catch them early if they do occur.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is a common pediatric dental problem that parents should be aware of. In most cases, bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene. This can be caused by not brushing teeth at least twice a day, not flossing daily, and not using mouthwash. If left untreated, bad breath can cause a child to be embarrassed and can lead to other oral health problems.

If your child’s bad breath persists, it is important to visit a pediatric dentist to determine the cause. In some cases, the bad breath may be caused by an underlying medical condition or infection, such as a sinus infection. The pediatric dentist can help to identify the cause and recommend the necessary treatment to help improve your child’s oral health.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a common dental problem in children, and one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. It is caused by the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth. Plaque produces acids that attack the tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Factors that increase a child’s risk of developing tooth decay include poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of sugary drinks and snacks, not having enough fluoride in drinking water, and medical conditions that affect saliva production (such as Sjögren's syndrome). Tooth decay can cause pain and infection, and if left untreated, can cause serious complications such as abscesses and the need for extensive dental work.

Gum Diseases

Gum diseases can occur due to poor dental hygiene, which causes plaque to accumulate on the teeth, leading to an infection of the gums. The gums become red, swollen, and tender, and may even bleed when brushed or flossed. The most common symptom of gum disease in children is bad breath, bleeding gums, and persistent soreness. Early detection and treatment of gum disease are essential in avoiding tooth loss and other related health problems.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is the habit of unconsciously clenching and grinding the teeth, usually during sleep. It can cause a variety of problems such as jaw pain, sensitivity, and headaches. It can also cause long-term damage to the teeth, including chips, cracks, and dental decay. In some cases, it can also lead to tooth loss or misaligned teeth.

Some of the most common causes of teeth grinding in children include stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth, or an abnormal bite. Most of the time, your child will outgrow their grinding habit but occasionally further intervention is required

A young girl smiling with her teeth while getting ready to brush them.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitivity occurs when the enamel, which is the outermost layer of the teeth, is worn away. This can happen due to dental erosion (a result of acidic foods and drinks), gum recession, or trauma. It can also be caused by brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Sensitivity can cause pain when drinking or eating hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. Other signs of sensitivity include pain when brushing, flossing, or touching the teeth.

Children should be taught proper brushing and flossing techniques to help prevent sensitivity. They should also be taught to avoid acidic foods and drinks, which can wear away the enamel. Regular dental care is also important, as the dentist may be able to identify any issues before they become painful. If sensitivity persists, the dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment, a desensitizing toothpaste, or a sealant.


Thumb-sucking is a common habit among children. It is usually a self-soothing behavior that begins in infancy and can continue until late childhood. While this habit can be comforting to a child, it can also lead to dental problems if it is not addressed. Thumb-sucking can cause the teeth to become misaligned, create an open bite, and can even cause the roof of the mouth to become abnormally shaped. It is important to help children break this habit as soon as possible to prevent any long-term dental issues.

One way to help break the habit is to first identify the reasons why the child is sucking their thumb. If the child is anxious or stressed, it is important to provide them with alternative coping methods such as deep breathing, talking to a parent or teacher, or playing with toys. If the child is bored or lonely, providing them with more stimulating activities such as reading or playing games can help.

It is also important to offer positive reinforcement when the child is avoiding thumb-sucking. Praise the child for not sucking their thumb and give them rewards such as stickers or small treats when they are successful. It is also important to remember that children are still learning and need patience and understanding.


Malocclusions result in the misalignment of teeth and jaw. Malocclusions can cause a wide range of issues, including difficulty with chewing and speaking, as well as an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. In more severe cases, malocclusions can also lead to facial disfigurement. Malocclusions can occur as a result of genetics, injury, or poor oral hygiene. Treatment for malocclusions in children can include braces, retainers, and/or dental surgery.

Having a healthy mouth and teeth is essential for your child's overall well-being. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist, contact The Children's Dental Center for comprehensive and reliable services. Get in touch with us now to have a beautiful smile!

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