kids brushing their teeth to avoid dental problems

Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Many pediatric dental problems are the same as adults. However, kids’ teeth are still developing and are more at risk for developing issues. If left untreated, dental problems can lead to poor oral health and misaligned teeth.

Get in front of your child’s dental health by understanding common dental problems for kids and how to avoid them.

Pediatric Dental Problems To Look Out For

Tooth Decay

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems in children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 20% of children ages 5-11 have at least one decaying tooth. When bacteria builds up on teeth, it becomes plaque, which eats away at the enamel, leading to cavities. Luckily tooth decay is preventable with regular brushing and flossing. Not to mention a healthy diet that limits sugary foods and carbohydrates that contribute to cavities.

Bad Breath

We all have bad breath, or halitosis, from time to time. However, if your child’s bad breath continues throughout the day, there is most likely a deeper issue. Bad breath comes from a buildup of bacteria in the mouth that feeds on leftover food and plaque and emits smelly hydrogen sulfide. Halitosis has a variety of causes, including dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, digestive issues, and even certain medications. The best way to prevent bad breath is to practice good dental hygiene and schedule regular teeth cleanings with your child’s dentist.

Sensitive Teeth

If your child experiences discomfort from hot or cold foods or air, he or she may have sensitive teeth. Older people aren’t the only ones prone to tooth sensitivity; children can also get it because of their thinner enamel, which is susceptible to wearing down faster from plaque. To fix this, your pediatric dentist can apply sealants to the affected areas. These will fill in any cracks while strengthening the enamel. It’s important to always use a soft toothbrush so as to not scrape off the enamel.

Thumb Sucking

While harmless for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking that continues past age 5 can be detrimental to a child’s oral development. Strong thumbsucking can damage both baby and permanent teeth. It can also affect teeth alignment which can lead to speech problems. Discuss with your Colorado Springs pediatric dentist how to curb this habit.

Baby Teeth Not Loosening

Sometimes baby teeth don’t fall out, also called over-retained primary teeth. Usually, this happens because there is no permanent tooth to replace the baby tooth. Other possible causes include jaw misalignment, obstructions, damage, infection, and oral pathology. If left untreated, over-retained teeth could cause dental problems like decay. Luckily your child’s dentist can remove the baby tooth so the adult tooth can develop unhindered. Any misalignment can be treated with orthodontics.

Gum Disease

Children can also suffer from gum disease, called gingivitis. This inflammation of the gums is caused by poor dental hygiene that can eventually lead to bone loss. When plaque accumulates on the base of teeth, it irritates the gums, causing them to become swollen and red. Over time they’ll start to recede from the gumline and bleed easily, especially after flossing.


Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is common among children. This could occur because of teeth misalignment, pain response, or stress. Bruxism usually doesn’t require treatment, but if it continues, both primary and secondary teeth could wear away. Common symptoms are jaw pain, headaches, and sensitivity. Your pediatric dentist can prescribe a nightguard to buffer the grinding each night.

Why Does My Kid Have Bad Teeth?

If your child has bad teeth, their oral hygiene is most likely to blame. Kids that eat too many carbohydrates and sugar are prone to poor dental health as these contribute to plaque build-up. Pair that with poor brushing and flossing habits, and you’ll likely see more cavities develop.

It’s important for parents to teach their children good dental hygiene. Kids should also be steered away from eating too much candy, fruit juices, soda, cookies, and other sugary foods.

Get ahead of pediatric dental problems by scheduling regular checkups with your Discovery Kids dentist. Contact us today to get started!