Common Dental Problems in Children

Our Sutton Coldfield family dentist discusses childhood oral health issues.

As adults, we know, sometimes a little too late, how important it is to keep our teeth healthy and to give them the care and attention that they deserve.

To young children though, the necessary steps of brushing your teeth, and perhaps flossing, are little more than an inconvenience and one of those annoying things that parents make them do.

It can be hard being a parent, especially when you remember your own attitude at that age; but, despite this, it is the adult’s responsibility to ensure that their child benefits from their wisdom and takes good care of their teeth.

When parents give in and perhaps neglect to supervise their child’s brushing, the risk of childhood dental problems increases. Some of these we see on a regular basis at Arthur House Dental Care, but, hopefully, this blog will help to reduce those numbers a little.

Tooth decay

By far the most common preventable childhood oral health issue today is tooth decay.

Anyone reading a newspaper will have seen a number of articles suggesting that the number of children having to have teeth extracted due to tooth decay is on the rise (1).

It appears that the most likely cause of this increase is the consumption of sugary fruit drinks.

Whilst it is understandable that parents feel that this is a healthy choice, the reality is that the amount of sugar, including natural sugars, encourages the bacteria that causes tooth decay to thrive.

In a ‘double whammy’, these juices also contain acids that attack the enamel of the teeth, further increasing the risk of tooth decay in young children.

By avoiding these, except for special occasions, much of the problem can be eliminated providing that the teeth are also brushed regularly.

Thumb Sucking

Once a child loses their ‘milk’ teeth, thumb sucking should be discouraged (2) as continuing to do so can lead to problems with the teeth and speech.

Continually pushing the teeth forward when sucking the thumb can cause protruding teeth. These will not return to their correct position when the sucking stops, but will need the use of interceptive orthodontics which we fit for children at our Sutton Coldfield dental practice near Birmingham. Speech problems can also occur in some young children which may take longer to be corrected.

Although it may offer some peace and quiet for the parent, children should be discouraged from thumb sucking as much as possible.


Like adults, children suffer from anxiety about dental visits too.

This can be minimised by ensuring that they visit at an early age so that their first experience of a dental practice is not when they are in pain and perhaps needing to have a tooth extracted, but a more gentle and educational introduction.

For a friendly children’s dental service in Sutton Coldfield, please call Arthur House Dental Care on 0121 323 4492.

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