Did you know that children who have trouble with their teeth can suffer in school because of it? According to research, children with poor oral health are apt to miss more days of school and even receive lower grades!
This is just one of the reasons why taking your tot to visit the dentist regularly is very important. By treating problems promptly you can save your child a lot of pain, discomfort, and missed school time in later years. You might also be able to minimize potential dental issues in their adult years by knowing when to go to the dentist as soon as possible.
But how does one recognize where there is an issue? Most dentists advise a twice-yearly dental checkup for kids, and if you are doing this already you are well on your way to ensuring your child’s dental health. However, there might be issues that crop up in between these visits that you need to be able to recognize and take action on.
If you are worried that your toddler has a dental issue that you are not aware of, then read on. Because we are going to share with you the top 8 signs which signal that a trip to the dentist is due.
1. Sore Teeth
Sore teeth or toothaches are seemingly obvious dental signs that you and your toddler need to get to a dentist. But, with toddlers, knowing when a tooth is sore due to a problem can be tricky as some toddlers might still have a few of their first molars growing out which can cause pain and discomfort.
At the same time, it is not unlikely for your toddler to develop a cavity in their baby teeth, as 42% of children in the US are reported to have dental caries in their primary teeth.
If you have been visiting the dentist regularly, and the tooth that is sore is a molar that is growing out – then there is likely to need to worry. If however, the sore tooth is one that has been out for a while, then it is definitely time for a checkup.
If your child is not a toddler yet, and you have not yet undertaken your baby’s first dental visit, then schedule this soon. Babies should have their first dental checkout once their first tooth has come, or around their 1st birthday.
2. Sore, Swollen or Bleeding Gums
Healthy and strong gums are integral to good oral health. If your toddler’s gums are irritated – or sore after you or they brush their teeth – this can indicate that your tot might have the onset of gum disease. In some cases where the condition is advanced or aggravated the gums might even bleed.
If you see any of these dental signs, book a dentistry appointment for your toddler as soon as possible to make sure that the problem is treated as soon as possible.
3. White Spots on the Gums
White spots on the gums or on the inside of the mouth are usually caused by canker sores. Cankers sores can come from injuries to the mouth, such as cheek biting, or from things like brushing one’s teeth too hard or eating a lot of citrus fruits.
Most canker sores are not serious and will heal just fine if you give them time. They aren’t contagious and are generally nothing to worry about.
However, if your toddler develops a canker sore that is large and does not seem to want to go away – then it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist to get it checked out.
4. White Spots on the Teeth
If you spy white spots on your toddler’s teeth – this is usually an indication of tooth decay. White spots are the first signs of a cavity that is forming. The white areas are generally chalky and weaker than the rest of the tooth.
Once you notice any white spots, the faster you get your tot to the dentist the better. Cavities can progress quickly, so be sure to act quickly.
5. Brown Spots on the Teeth
Brown spots on the teeth indicate more advanced cavities. If you see broken or black sections of teeth, this means that the cavity or cavities are quite far on their way.
If your toddler has brown spots on their teeth they are in urgent need of dental attention. In these cases, it is important to book a prompt appointment with the dentist.
6. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Food or Drinks
One of the other signs of cavities in toddlers is tooth sensitivity. If your toddler is displaying sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks, then this can mean that they have a cavity.
7. Loose Teeth
Loose teeth are a normal part of childhood as losing one’s baby teeth can be ongoing until the ages of 11 or even older. But, if your toddler is sporting a loose tooth thanks to an accident or injury that loosened the wobbly tooth – then you should pay a visit to the dentist.
Leaving a loose tooth from an injury to fall out on its own might result in problems when the secondary tooth in that spot grows out.
8. A Clicking Jaw
There are many reasons to take your child to a dental specialist. One of the top reasons is to make sure that your child’s teeth and jaw are well aligned. If you notice that your toddler’s jaw is making clicking sounds when they chew, this can indicate that their jaw is out of alignment and signals that they need a dental checkup.
Do You and Your Tot Need to Go to the Dentist?
Determining when small kids need to go to the dentist can be tricky. But now that you know about these 8 warning signs that signal it is time for an appointment, you will be able to manage your toddler’s dental health with confidence.
If you live in Chicago and want to trust your toddler’s teeth to only the best, then contact us to book an appointment.
To make things easier for you, we offer pediatric dentistry as well as general dentistry for adults, so that you can have a family-wide dental health solution.