Taking your child to the dentist and teaching good oral hygiene habits from an early age are crucial for the life-long health of your child’s teeth.
Pediatric dentists on Long Island
Did you know that tooth decay is a leading chronic childhood disease? It’s more common than asthma – and entirely preventable, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The general dentistry division of Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick’s Long Island practice provides dental care for children, as well as adults.
Fast facts about children’s teeth
Here are a few facts pertaining to children’s dentistry you may not know:
- Dental disease in children is 5 times more common than asthma
- If left untreated, pediatric tooth problems can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, and surgery
- Tooth decay can cause problems with eating, speaking and learning
- In the U.S., an estimated 17 million children go without dental care each year
- More than 51 million school hours are lost due to dental disease.
- Over 25% of children ages 2-5 suffer from tooth decay; 50% of children ages 12-15 suffer from tooth decay.
Oral health problems in children’s dentistry
There are a number of issues affecting tooth health in children, including:
- Baby bottle tooth decay – Baby teeth are frequently coming into contact with sugary fruit juices, milk, formula and sugar water. It’s no surprise, then, that their teeth can decay. We most commonly find early decay in babies who fall asleep while breastfeeding or with bottles in their mouths. The mouth bacteria feeds on the undigested sugars, causing tooth decay that can be painful and cause poor positioning for adult teeth. Serious tooth abscesses can spread infection throughout the body and cause death in some cases.
- Thumb sucking – It’s normal and natural for infants to suck their thumbs for emotional security and comfort. However, it becomes a problem when it persists beyond age 5 when the permanent teeth begin to come in. Kids may develop an overbite, have difficulty pronouncing words, and suffer from jaw misalignment or malformation in the roof of the mouth.
- Tongue thrusting – Some children seal their mouth for swallowing by pushing the top of the tongue against the lips, which puts pressure on the front teeth and pushes them out, causing an overbite and impeded speech.
- Early tooth loss – Decay, injury, or lack of jaw space can all cause teeth to fall out or shift. Crooked or misaligned teeth cause early wear-and-tear on the other teeth, interfere with speech and chewing, and pain in the temporomandibular joints.
What pediatric dentists can do for children
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing children to their first dentist appointment no later than their first birthday. A checkup is then recommended every six months to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Most importantly, Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick can answer all your questions about child tooth health.