Early Oral Health Problems in Children

Updated at: Feb 27, 2012
Early Oral Health Problems in Children

Children develop several oral problems or habits that lead to oral concerns in their toddlerhood, which include tongue thrusting, lip sucking, thumb sucking, early tooth loss and tooth decay.

Himanshu Sharma
Tips for ParentWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Feb 27, 2012

In the early days of childhood, children have no realisation of what is good for them or what is bad. A situation may arise when his habit becomes an oral problem. Most of these dental concerns in children are corrected by visiting a dentist, although precautionary measures or intervention by parents can also help to resolve some of these. Among the problems that could be rectified by intervention of parents are thumb sucking, teething, tooth decay and early tooth loss. However, regular visits to dentist prevent potential problems.

Some of the dental health issues faced by children are explained below:

Thumb Sucking

One of the common childhood habits, children catch up this habit early in their lives. Moreover, it is said that thumb sucking practice starts from the womb. Considered a natural reflex, the habit should be corrected by the age of 5, beyond which it may lead to oral concerns in the front teeth. Other oral health issues associated with thumb sucking are bite problems and protruding teeth.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is sometimes referred to as nursing bottle syndrome, which is caused due continuous contact of baby’s teeth with sugar. One of the causes of this oral disorder could be human breast milk. It occurs when sugar in the liquid sits in the mouth for a prolonged duration, which is fed by bacteria. Untreated decayed teeth results in pain, making difficult for children to eat. Damaged or destroyed baby teeth hamper the incoming and positioning of permanent teeth.

Early Tooth Loss

Children love to play. Engaging in games risk them against accidents where they may lose teeth accidentally. Sometimes, early removal of teeth creates an empty space, a hindrance in the positioning of permanent teeth. In such a scenario, dentists advise to place a spacer so that space remains open for appropriate positioning of permanent teeth.

Tongue Thrusting

Another commonly observed oral problem in children is tongue thrusting, wherein mouth is sealed by moving tongue forward against the lips. Identical to thumb sucking, tongue thrusting influences the growth of front teeth, making alterations in their alignment. The oral problem is sometimes associated with improper speech development. If this habit prolongs, it is advised to see a speech pathologist.


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