Your child's dental health depends upon you being proactive about the problems that you notice. While you may have your child brush their teeth every night and be careful with what they eat during the day, you may still have issues that are beyond your control. Your child's sleeping habits occur without their knowledge, and you can't exactly wake them up every time you hear a snore or a tooth grind. Instead, mention these three habits to your child's family dentist so that they can help watch out for damage that can negatively impact your child's smile.
They Suck Their Thumb
Thumb sucking is one of those behaviors that younger children sometimes give up on their own as they get older, and a young baby may need to use their thumb as a method for self-soothing. The problem with them sucking typically shows up once a child is beginning to have some of their adult teeth coming in. Long-term thumb sucking can cause the front teeth to jut forward so that your child's bite becomes misaligned. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to stop your child from sucking their thumb, but their dentist can keep an eye out for signs of potential orthodontic problems that need correction early on. They may also be able to recommend solutions to stop thumb sucking in older kids such as wearing a special guard that stops them from doing so comfortably.
You Hear Them Grinding Their Teeth
Teeth grinding can cause your child's teeth to get worn down. While this might not be a huge worry with baby teeth, it does become a bigger issue if the grinding is severe enough that it begins to create cracks in your child's adult teeth. Your child may also complain about pain in their jaw or teeth that comes from the amount of pressure that is placed on their joints and ligaments. Nighttime mouthguards are commonly prescribed by dentists for children who grind their teeth at night.
They Sleep With Their Mouth Open
Mouth breathing may be mostly silent, or you may notice your child snoring through the night. While this may seem innocuous, breathing through their mouth can cause saliva production in the mouth to slow down. This leads to the teeth drying out, which can leave them more vulnerable to the effects of acid erosion. Plaque and tartar also tend to develop faster in a dry mouth. Family dental services include regular cleanings and exams that prevent tooth decay from ruining your child's teeth, and the dentist may also prescribe special treatments such as sealants and mouth rinses to reduce the effects of nighttime mouth breathing.
For more information, contact a family dentist like Thomas Krull, DDS, PC.