Baby Teeth Problems

Teeth problems can affect babies and children as well as adults although as parents, we hope that our offspring avoid this. Ideally, we would like them to get into good habits early on which mean less time spent at the dentist later on in life (which is great). But there are times when things can go wrong with their teeth for a variety of reasons.

These problems are either self-inflicted such as thumb sucking or accidental such as tooth decay or an injury.

So, what do we mean by 'baby teeth problems?' Well, teething is one such problem but there are others which include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Thumb/finger sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Early tooth loss
  • Teeth grinding

Tooth decay

Strange as it may seem it is possible for your baby to develop tooth decay which is usually the result of having too much sugar. This is often the case with babies who are bottle fed and are allowed to suck on a bottle for hours at a time. The sugars inside the bottle remain on the baby's teeth and combine with bacteria inside their mouth to gradually eat away at the enamel on their teeth.

This causes damage to the teeth which we know as tooth decay. Another name for this condition is 'bottle mouth'.

Thumb/finger sucking

This is a common habit among babies and toddlers who do so to feel safe and secure. You may have noticed that Junior quietens down and becomes easier to deal with once he sucks his thumb or a dummy.

This is fine while he is a toddler but becomes a problem if it continues into childhood. Why is this? The reason is that constant sucking of the thumb puts pressure on the teeth which then forces them out of their correct position.

The result is crooked teeth which may require a brace to realign them back into position.

Tongue thrusting

This is a similar problem to thumb sucking with exactly the same results. It is where the child pushes their tongue against their teeth, usually the front teeth, which pushes them out of position. This results in a 'buck toothed' appearance which causes problems later on in life. The child becomes self conscious about their crooked teeth and may have problems with their speech as well.

Early tooth loss

It is unusual for a baby or toddler to lose a tooth as this does not usually occur until they reach the age of 5 or so. But it can happen in toddlers who may lose a tooth as a result of an accident or injury.

Tooth loss can occur as a result of tooth decay caused by a feeding bottle.

Teeth grinding

The medical name for this is 'bruxism': it is a condition where the child rubs or grinds their upper and lower teeth together which produces an unpleasant sound. If you have put your baby or child to bed and decide to look in on them later on then you may hear this distinctive noise which sounds rather like a buzzing bee!

Some parents compare this to the sound of a chainsaw or a racing car but as funny as this may sound it is not an attractive habit to have.

Teeth grinding is caused by several reasons, teething being one of them. The baby or child usually grows out of this habit but seek medical advice if it persists or worsens.