10 Most Common Dental Problems in Kids

BY Ritu Shah

14 May 2024

The dental health of their kids is essential for parents. Kids must be taught proper oral care habits during childhood. Even with daily brushing, kids may face many dental problems. Hence, dental problems must be prevented and taken care of.

We have put together some of the common dental problems that kids face. Catching them as early as possible can help to bring faster relief and better treatment. 

Here are the 10 most common dental problems in kids:

  • Tooth decay

  • It is perhaps the most common dental problem among kids worldwide. They are not exactly experts in brushing and cleaning their tongues. If they are also consuming sugar-rich food, it can lead to the formation of cavities and decay.

    Prevention - Parents should supervise till the kids learn to brush properly. Give the kids fluoride-based toothpaste to use. Limiting the consumption of sugar and carb-rich foods also helps in preventing tooth decay.


  • Loss of Baby Teeth

  • Kids are usually excited about losing their first baby teeth, as the “tooth fairy” will visit them. There will be a new tooth to replace the old one. Loss of baby teeth starts from the age of 6 onwards. Most kids get their full set of permanent teeth by the age of 13. 


    Prevention - Losing baby teeth is a natural phenomenon. While the process is mostly painless, sometimes the tooth can become stuck. It can become painful and uncomfortable for the kid while speaking or eating. It is best to consult a dentist in such a scenario.


  • Bad Breath

  • Bad breath usually happens when bacteria feed on the leftover food in the mouth and plaque. These bacteria emit hydrogen sulfide which gives that stinky smell. That is why morning oral care is very important. However, if bad breath persists throughout the day then it becomes a cause of concern. Check for tooth decay, gum problems, and even digestive problems.

    Prevention - Proper oral care is the best preventive measure for bad breath. Brushing properly and proper tongue cleaning will help fight bacteria.


  • Sensitive Teeth

  • If your child feels discomfort in the teeth when consuming hot or cold food and liquid, they are suffering from sensitive teeth. It can be caused by enamel wear, tooth decay, newly erupted teeth, and teeth grinding. 


    Prevention - Give your kid a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard ones can cause microscopic cracks. Consult a dentist if your kid complains of continued discomfort while having hot and cold food and fluids.


  • Gum Disease

  • Gum disease and gingivitis are quite common in kids. Swollen gums, slight bleeding from the gums, and gum pains are signs of gum disease. It is caused by plaque and tartar buildup around the gums, which can lead to bone damage and tooth loss.


    Prevention - Proper oral hygiene, daily brushing, and regular dental checkup can help prevent gum disease to occur and spread.


  • Grinding

  • Grinding of teeth is usually seen in smaller kids when their first teeth start to come out. Even school-going kids grind their teeth if they have jaw pain or earache. However, if the kid continuously keeps grinding, it can erode the enamel causing sensitive teeth. 


    Prevention - Identify if your child grinds their teeth beyond normal or as a matter of habit.  Consult a paediatric dentist for the right treatment. There are many devices like nightguards which can help the child sleep peacefully. 


  • Thumb Sucking

  • Thumb sucking is a security and comforting mechanism for babies. However, kids mostly outgrow it while growing up. If your kid is more than 4 years of age and still in the habit of excessively sucking their thumb, then it can lead to problems in proper teeth development. Chronic thumb sucking can lead to an open bite, where the mouth does not close properly. This can affect biting, chewing, and speech as well.


    Prevention - Parents have to discourage thumb sucking beyond the toddler stage. Use positive reinforcement and motivate by offering rewards to the child. You can also use a band-aid, nail polish, and finger guard to remind the kid not to suck on the thumb. Experts advise not to scold, embarrass, or criticise the kid for this.


  • Orthodontic Issues

  • The jaw shape and its size can affect the growth and alignment of the teeth. Some kids have misaligned teeth or even spacing issues. Sometimes, the primary teeth do not come out, and the permanent tooth faces obstructions. The over-retained tooth can cause cavities and infection. 


    Prevention - Age 7 or 8 is the right time to consult a dentist if your kid is facing spacing, crooked, overcrowded, or misaligned teeth. Remember that the teeth are still developing till the age of 13.


  • Dental Emergencies

  • Kids can get injured while playing. Some injuries can end in chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.


    Prevention - Take the kid to the hospital in case of grave injury. However, if your kid is prone to get hurt in the face or mouth, you can get them to use a mouthguard when playing sports.


  • Canker Sores

  • Canker sores have a white or grey centre and a red border. These form inside the mouth, gums or the tongue. Canker sores can develop as a single sore or form a group. Eating and drinking become difficult for the suffering kid. These are different from cold sores or fever blisters and are not contagious.

    Prevention - Canker sores can reappear from time to time. Brushing hard, cheek bite or dental work can cause such sores. Avoid spicy and acidic food and sodas, if your kid has canker sores. You can also make them use an antibacterial mouthwash to heal faster.

    As is evident, proper and daily dental hygiene works as a preventive measure for many tooth-related problems. Kids must be taught to brush and clean their tongues correctly. Use of a soft-bristled toothbrush and age-appropriate toothpaste is also essential. It is also important to have a regular dental checkup for your kids.