If you have a small child, you are probably working hard to ensure that his or her future is promising. One way to help protect your youngster's future good looks is to make sure that your little one's teeth stay in great shape. Still, there are issues that can ruin a child's permanent teeth before they ever erupt. Here are a few of them:
Sucking From a Bottle Too Long
Children who are not weaned promptly may continue to drink from a bottle well into toddlerhood. This can result in a condition called baby bottle decay. This type of decay causes deep cavities to form within the primary teeth. The decay occurs as the teeth are constantly covered in the natural sugars found in the milk or juice that your youngster may be drinking. Unlike with a bottle, as your child drinks from a cup, larger amounts of liquid are consumed at once instead of continually resting in the mouth.
Baby bottle decay is exacerbated by the use of a bottle as a soothing mechanism before naps or bedtime. When your child falls asleep, his or her swallowing reflex diminishes. This means that the liquid spends even more time on the little one's teeth.
Oral bacteria within the child's mouth consume the sugars from the milk or juice and release bacterial acids that cause tooth decay. Although the little one's permanent teeth may not have erupted yet, decay can spread to the adult teeth that lie beneath the surface of the gums.
Some children rely heavily on their thumb as a soothing tool. Thus, thumb-sucking can become a habit for a child. The longer that the child continues this practice, the more likely that he or she is to develop dental alignment issues.
As your little one sucks his or her thumb, pressure is placed on the upper palate. This can change the shape of the growing bones and cause the top palate to become more narrow than that of the lower jaw. Also, pressure is placed on the front teeth, forcing them outward. Even though your child's teeth may have been growing in a straight alignment, the force of the thumb can cause them to become bucked and gapped.
Since the primary teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually present, thumb-sucking can result in a dental misalignment that may need to be corrected in years to come.
To learn more about childhood issues that could result in damage to your little one's permanent teeth, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in your local area.