Additional Information on Dentistry for Kids
The Dangers of Thumb-Sucking
Thumb-sucking is a natural habit in young children. It’s something that relaxes them and causes them to feel more secure, and it could even aid sleep. However, if it continues for too many years, thumb-sucking can cause a number of dental issues.
As adult teeth are replacing the primary teeth, thumb-sucking can disturb the general growth of the mouth, including teeth-alignment. It can also cause abnormal changes to the roof of the mouth.
The majority of kids stop sucking their thumbs at the point permanent teeth are ready to come in—somewhere between 2-4 years of age. The children who go on sucking their thumbs past this stage are at a higher risk for damage.
An additional influence that determines whether or not damage will occur is the intensity of the child’s sucking. Children who suck their thumbs with vigor will have more dental issues than children who only stick their thumb in their mouth. In fact, children who suck their thumbs aggressively have been known to develop issues before the arrival of their adult teeth.
Here are a couple of tips to help get your children to cease sucking their thumbs:
- Discover and treat the cause of the anxiety that is making them want to suck their thumb in the first place.
- Give your child praise when they’re not sucking their thumb.
- Ask our doctors to explain the risks and offer advice.
If you notice your child is still sucking his or her thumb beyond the arrival of their permanent teeth, and you aren’t able to eliminate the problem yourself, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment at Milford Dental Excellence—before problems arise.
Should I Consider Sealants?
The most effective method of fighting cavities is to brush and floss regularly, but occasionally it can be tough to clean the whole surface of your teeth. This is particularly true in the case of our molars, which are located in the deep depths of our mouths and act as a shelter for bacteria and leftover food. Thankfully, dentists offer sealants, which are thin, plastic coatings that are attached to your teeth where they hinder cavities and stop early stages of decay.
When the bacteria in your mouth meets leftover food, acids are produced. These acids can create craters in your teeth, which we call cavities. Sealants work by stopping food from getting wedged in those difficult-to-reach spots while simultaneously keeping bacteria and acid away from the surface of your teeth.
Considering that most of us get our first molars at around six, the earlier sealants are applied, the better. By sealing our molars at an early age, they could potentially remain cavity-free right from the beginning. And though you may think of them as an expense, sealants are more of an investment. After all, having no cavities in your teeth means less money spent in the long-run.
The application process for sealants is fairly simple. First, the teeth on which the sealant will be placed is cleaned. Then, an acidic gel is applied, which forms a durable and strong bond between the sealant and the teeth to which it is being applied. After a swift rinse-and-dry, the sealant is applied and hardened by a special blue light.
After sealants are applied, they can last several years before having to be reapplied.
It’s paramount to keep in mind that sealants aren’t a substitute for brushing your teeth. They only prevent cavities in the spots that are treated. In order to keep a healthy smile, you will still have to floss and brush every day. However, if you find that flossing and brushing are not enough to keep your teeth cavity-free, be sure to ask our doctors about sealants during your next visit.