Kids Oral Health – Red Flags all Parents should Know

kids oral healthSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Parents these days seem more aware than ever about how important it is for their child to practice good oral hygiene, receive fluoride treatments, and visit their dentist for checkups and cleanings. While cavity-free dental visits is a good goal, today’s blog isn’t about that, it’s about other less common red flags relating to oral health. Family dentists in Santa Cruz, Drs. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian, want all parents to be aware of these red flags that could indicate a serious oral health issue for children.

Mouth breathing, especially while sleeping

All people should breathe through their nose. It’s healthier for the body as the nose warms the air and helps produce nitric oxide, which is essential for the body. Mouth breathing, however, indicates an obstructed airway, which can lead to oral health and health issues, especially for a growing and developing child. Sometimes, enlarged soft tissues such as tonsils or adenoids are to blame for the airway obstruction, but other times it may be caused by jaw misalignment like a severe overbite. Mouth breathing also may be a sign of sleep apnea (yes, it can happen to kids, too!), which is known to affect cognitive development, behavior, and other health problems.

Tongue-tie, why the cat’s got their tongue

A tongue-tie is when the tissue that tethers the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is restrictive or too short. Ask your child to stick his or her tongue out. Can their tongue make it past the lips? Are they able to touch the roof of their mouth while the mouth is completely open? Tongue-ties affect the development of the upper palate, tooth alignment, and airway. In babies, an untreated tongue-tie can cause breastfeeding issues that result in failure to thrive, and a mama that throws in the towel on her desire to breastfeed her baby. If you believe that your child may have a tongue-tie, ask laser dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry for an evaluation.

Thumb sucking and tongue thrust

You may have noticed when a baby learns to eat solid foods for the first time that they thrust their tongue forward, oh the cuteness, but if this habit continues past this food introductory phase, it could become an issue for the child’s development. The same is true of thumb or digit sucking. While it’s a natural instinct, albeit cute even, the constant pressure from the fingers or a pacifier don’t do any good for the upper palate development. If you notice that your child has tongue thrust when eating, meaning that their tongue pushes forward and is visible when they eat, have it checked by the dentist. Also, if your child is sucking his or her thumb or a pacifier longer than the recommended timeframe of one year of age, ask your dentist about ways to correct the behavior.

These red flags are more common than you might realize, which is why routine dental checkups are essential beginning when your child is about one year of age, or when their first tooth erupts. We can catch oral development issues early on, and correct them right away, instead of waiting until your child is a teenager needing extensive orthodontic treatment. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we offer simple solutions to these common oral health issues. Ask us how we can help by calling our office at (831) 438-4411.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is proud to serve patients in the areas of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California.