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Two ways to minimise your child's chances of developing serious dental health problems

It's important to do what you can to minimise your child's chances of developing dental health problems. Here are two ways to do this.

Pay attention to how they brush their teeth

A lot of parents assume that as long as their children brush their teeth twice a day, they will not develop gum disease, cavities or other dental problems.

Unfortunately, this is not the case, as the way in which your child brushes their teeth can have just as much of an impact on their chances of developing oral health conditions as the frequency with which they clean them.

If for example, they have a tendency to brush their teeth very aggressively, they could end up pushing their gum line upwards. This recession of their gums could lead to the development of gaps between the tooth and the gum line, in which bacterial plaque could accumulate.

Because the bristles of a toothbrush cannot access these gaps, the plaque could remain trapped in these 'pockets'. If this should happen, the plaque would then erode the tooth enamel and inflame the gums.

The only way to resolve this type of issue is to have a dentist perform a 'deep clean' of the affected teeth. This type of treatment is referred to as 'scaling and root planing' and involves removing calculus (hardened plaque) from not only the visible sections of the teeth but also from the aforementioned 'pockets' between the tooth root and the gums.

One of the main signs that your child is using too much pressure when brushing their teeth is if the bristles of their toothbrush start to splay outwards (or even fall out) after just a few weeks of use.

If you notice this, you should start to supervise them when they brush their teeth and remind them each time they begin to use too much pressure.

Avoid giving them foods with hard textures

If your child regularly consumes foods with hard textures (such as nuts, hard sweets and popcorn with kernels), they could end up with a chipped or cracked tooth.

This type of tooth damage can lead to a whole host of dental health problems. Even a tiny chip, for example, can leave the dentin layer of the tooth exposed. This can make the tooth extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods and thus make the process of eating such foods very painful for your child.

A cracked tooth can be even more problematic. This could leave the tooth root, and all of the nerve endings that are housed inside it, exposed. If bacteria in the mouth seep into this section of the tooth, your child could end up developing a tooth abscess. Abscesses can be excruciatingly painful and can also put people at risk of sepsis if they are not treated promptly with antibiotics.

As such, it is important to be mindful of what you feed your child and to avoid giving them any hard foods that could potentially break their teeth.

For more tips, speak with a dentist near you.