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Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Are you worried about the dental well-being of your child? Pondering on the optimum way to assist them? You’re certainly not the only one. Annually, countless kids encounter dental problems.

To help you make sense of it all, this article by Dentists Connect will discuss the most common dental problems in children. Don’t let your child suffer in silence – keep reading to find out more!

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems in children, and it affects all ages. In its early stages, tooth decay is characterized by a soft spot or depression in the enamel that can be felt with a toothpick. Decay can progress to the dentin layer below the enamel if left untreated and often manifests as brown or black spots on teeth and as sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods.

Tooth decay is caused by a diet rich in sugary and acidic foods, poor oral hygiene, inadequate exposure to fluoride, and underdeveloped tooth enamel.

Preventing tooth decay starts with good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time, flossing regularly and eating a balanced diet. Parents should also take their children for regular cleanings from a pediatric dentist starting at age one – usually every six months. Fluoride treatments are often recommended for young children, especially if they live in an area without fluoridated drinking water.

If caught early enough, dentists can sometimes stop the progress of tooth decay with treatment such as fillings or crowns; however, if decay has reached the pulp chamber inside the tooth then root canal therapy may be necessary to save the natural tooth.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a common dental problem in children, with prevalence rates of up to 30% according to some studies. Though teeth grinding can affect people of any age, young children and teens may be more likely to grind their teeth due to changes in the way the jaw develops and hormonal changes that occur during adolescence.

Teeth grinding is a condition in which someone applies excessive and often unconscious force against their teeth resulting in tooth wear. This type of wear can lead to tooth pain, sensitivity, cracked molars, jaw soreness and difficulty opening the mouth freely. Teeth grinding can have many causes such as anxiety or dental malocclusion (teeth not fitting together correctly). In many cases, it has no identifiable cause.

In order to prevent further damage or treatments like fillings or crowns, it’s important that parents keep an eye out for any signs of bruxism in their child. Other than noticing loud grinding noises at night while they sleep, signs include facial pain or headache upon waking in the morning as well as worn down teeth or increased space between them in areas where they shouldn’t be worn down. It is important to take seriously any out-of-pattern oral habits like chewing on objects such as pens, pencils or clothes as this could be a sign that your child is grinding their teeth without you being aware of it while they sleep at night.


Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition that restricts the normal range of motion and function of the tongue. It occurs when a piece of tissue (frenulum) inside the mouth, near the base of the tongue, is shorter than usual or contains more vigorous fibers than what would be considered normal.

Tongue-tie can occur at any time between birth and late adolescence, but it’s more commonly found in young children. Left untreated, it can cause long-term dental and speech issues. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty in moving their tongues outward or backward.
  • Trouble extending their tongues beyond the lower lip or teeth.
  • Having difficulty licking their lips or sticking out their tongues.
  • A gap between their tongues and lower teeth when they stick out their tongues.
  • Being unable to touch the roof of their mouths with their tongs when they open wide.

In some cases, tongue-tie can be treated successfully with a minor procedure called “frenotomy” which consists of releasing tight tissue from around the baby’s tongue by cutting away excess tissue below it. The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis without any need for anesthesia since babies usually don’t feel pain at this age. An infant frenectomy can help them form sounds correctly and allow for greater linguistic development.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is the most common bad habit among children, and affects up to 45% of all children under the age of 5. It is a natural reflex that serves to provide comfort in young children and can be very difficult to break. While short-term thumb sucking is not an issue, long-term thumb sucking can lead to dental problems including the misalignment of the teeth and jaw, or even distortions such as an anterior open bite. Untreated, this condition can only be corrected with orthodontic appliances, which can be expensive and require long-term treatment.

To help prevent dental issues, encourage your child to stop thumb-sucking as soon as possible – even before permanent teeth come in.

Early Loss of Baby Teeth

Early loss of baby teeth is a common dental problem in children, usually caused by dental disease, trauma, or genetics. While it’s normal for baby teeth to begin falling out around age 6, any sign of early tooth loss should be evaluated by a dentist.

Baby teeth help keep permanent teeth healthy by guiding them into proper alignment. If they are lost prematurely, the permanent tooth could drift into the open space and cause crowding or misalignment. If a child loses a baby tooth due to trauma or decay, the dentist may need to place a space maintainer to ensure that adjacent teeth don’t shift. In cases of severe overcrowding, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to ensure that all adult teeth come in correctly and establish an ideal bite pattern.

To prevent early loss of baby teeth, parents should practice preventive dentistry from infancy with regular brushing and flossing at home as well as regular visits to the dentist for exams and cleanings. Sugary snacks should be limited and healthy habits instilled early on for optimal oral health in children.

Jaw Development Issues

Jaw development issues are some of the most common dental problems in children. If a child’s jaw or teeth do not develop as they should, it can have a negative impact on the appearance and function of their mouth. In some cases, these issues may also interfere with proper eating and speaking. Possible causes of jaw development issues include genetic factors, trauma to the face, chronic mouth breathing, allergies, or even infection.

Signs that could indicate a problem with jaw development in children include:

  • Premature tooth wear
  • Open bite (where the upper and lower teeth do not meet when biting)
  • Misplaced midline (where the centerline of upper front teeth doesn’t line up correctly)
  • Overcrowded or missing teeth
  • Facial asymmetry

Prompt diagnosis is important in order to mitigate any potential long-term effects on growth and form. Various treatments are available to correct jaw development problems such as orthodontics (braces) and orthopedic appliances (headgear).

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammatory infection that damages the gums and surrounding tissue of the teeth. It is caused by an accumulation of plaque around the teeth and gumline. Symptoms may include red, swollen, or tender gums; bleeding when brushing or flossing; bad breath; pus coming from the gums; loose teeth; receding gum line, where the gums start to pull away from the teeth; and pain when chewing. If it is not treated, it will get worse over time and cause more complications.

In children aged six to eight years old, gum disease is usually caused by inadequate oral hygiene habits and not caring for their teeth properly. In some cases, genetics may also be a factor in developing gum disease at a younger age. It is important that parents encourage their children to have good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly. Regular visits to the dentist are also recommended as early detection can help manage this issue before it gets worse. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary for the treatment of gum diseases in children.

Occlusal Trauma

Occlusal trauma is a common dental problem affecting children and adolescents. It is caused when the upper and lower bite surfaces of the teeth do not fit correctly, resulting in an abnormal amount of pressure when biting together. This extra pressure can cause damage to the teeth and can sometimes cause wear, breakage, gum recession, sensitivity, and pain.

Treatment for occlusal trauma might include:

  • Reshaping or shortening the tooth surface that isn’t fitting correctly
  • Restoring worn-down teeth with composite fillings
  • In more severe cases, bruxism appliances may be needed to protect the teeth from further wear and stress.

If you think your child may be suffering from occlusal trauma, it is best to schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss treatment options.

Endodontic Issues

Endodontic issues are some of the most common dental problems that affect children. The field of endodontics is concerned with the maintenance and diagnosis of problems related to the inside structures of teeth, such as nerves, arteries, and veins. These issues can be wide-ranging and often require specialized care from a qualified dental professional.

The most common endodontic issue in children is pulpitis, also known as tooth inflammation. This is caused when bacteria on teeth impair the pulp inside them, resulting in pain, infection, and swelling. Another issue is necrosis or death of the pulp due to lack of blood supply to it. This often occurs when a tooth has become infected or injured to a very severe degree.

Other issues include cysts or abscesses that can form beneath a dentist’s gum tissue due to bacterial invasion. These can range from mild infections that don’t cause pain but still require treatment to more aggressive growths that may require surgical intervention for resolution. Finally, apical periodontitis is caused by an accumulation of bacteria around teeth roots leading to possible bone loss and further dental complications if not addressed properly.


Malocclusion is a term that refers to when the teeth do not fit together properly. Unfortunately, this problem is very common in children and can lead to cosmetic and structural dental problems. Malocclusion can be classified into three categories: overcrowding, spacing, and misaligned teeth.

According to Dentists, early diagnosis of malocclusions will help prevent further worsening of these problems later on in life. There are many available treatments available for these cases like Pediatric Orthodontics which can help contain these problems efficiently with correct guidance from a Pedodontist/Orthodontist who is well experienced with treating kids with malocclusions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common dental problems in children?

The most common dental problems in children are cavities, gum disease, enamel erosion, and dental trauma.

How can I help prevent my child from developing dental problems?

You can help prevent your child from developing dental problems by encouraging them to brush and floss regularly, limiting their sugar intake, and scheduling regular checkups with the dentist.

What are the signs of a dental problem in a child?

Signs of a dental problem in a child can include bad breath, toothache, swollen gums, discolored teeth, and difficulty chewing.


By understanding the problems that are common in children’s teeth, parents can take action to reduce their child’s risk as well as become better informed about oral hygiene practices.

Daily brushing and flossing with fluoride-containing toothpaste should be part of every child’s regular routine for keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Regular dental exams allow dentists to detect any signs of disease or decay early and take preventive measures to encourage good oral hygiene. Furthermore, a balanced diet that includes plenty of nutritious foods can help support overall health and development including strong and healthy teeth.

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