dental diseases

If you’re a parent, chances are you already keep a close eye on your children for any signs of health problems. From sleep disturbances to funny-looking rashes, we all dread any indication of illness and unhappiness in our little ones.


However, some illnesses are more likely to go unnoticed. Dental diseases, in particular, are easy to miss, since some children don’t exhibit obvious symptoms. In fact, a report by CDC revealed that 19% of children aged 2 to 19 have untreated dental cavities.


It’s a parent’s job to recognize the less-noticeable signs of tooth decay and other dental diseases before they become serious. If you notice any of these red flags, consider scheduling an appointment at your local pediatric dentist office.


Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, rotten teeth, or cavities are caused by plaque, a sticky colorless film that forms over teeth. The bacteria in plaque creates acids that gradually erode teeth, causing holes, pain, and even tooth loss.

Any of the following traits or behaviors can signal tooth decay:



  • Tooth pain, which can manifest as reluctance to eat hard foods or chewing with one side of the mouth


  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods


  • Bad breath


  • Complaining of unpleasant tastes in the mouth


  • Swelling of gums


If you notice behaviors that might be related to cavities, check children’s teeth and look for the following visual signs of tooth decay:


  • A dull white band near the gum line on the tooth’s surface


  • A yellow, brown or black band on the tooth’s surface, close to the gum line, which signals more advanced tooth decay


  • Complete blackening of the tooth, which signals very advanced decay



Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

One type of gum disesase, chronic gingivitis, is common among children. Caused by poor dental hygiene, gum disease leads to swollen red gums that bleed easily. Common signals of gum disease in kids include:


  • Puffy gums


  • Blood on toothbrushes or floss


  • Bad breath even after brushing and rinsing


  • Recessed gum lines


  • At late stages, wiggly permanent teeth



Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, isn’t a dental disease per se, but can still lead to tooth complications that dentists have to address. Tooth grinding happens most often when children sleep or are under stressed. Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, chipped teeth, enamel loss, and even tooth sensitivity. Common signs of bruxism include:


  • Grinding or grating noises while children sleep


  • Pain while chewing


  • Complaints of a sore jaw or face when waking up from sleep


It can be easy to miss the signs of dental diseases in children. To better protect your children’s smiles, learn the symptoms and behaviors associated with these three common childhood oral conditions. If you find any red flags, seek pediatric dental care to help your child get back on track towards a healthy mouth.

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