Common Childhood Dental Concerns

As a parent, it can be concerning when your child experiences dental issues. From chipped teeth to persistent thumb sucking, childhood dental problems can be worrisome. Left unaddressed, these problems can deteriorate further into full-blown kids’ dental problems like gum disease and even cavities.

Getting immediate dental care for these kids’ dental concerns is key for your child’s dental health. At Bay Area Kids Dentist, we specialize in addressing various childhood dental concerns, from chipped teeth to extensive mouth sores and gum issues.

We’re here to help you sort out any questions or concerns you might have and help you identify potential childhood dental problems before they worsen. Here are some of the common dental concerns children experience.

Chipped Teeth

Chipped teeth are among the most common kids’ dental concerns across the country. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 63% of dentists regularly treat children with chipped teeth. 

Often, chipping happens accidentally and often following activities like play. Besides playing, various activities can cause chipped teeth, from falls to biting down on hard objects or snacks. 

How To Prevent Chipped Teeth

Preventing chipped teeth involves promoting good dental habits and minimizing risky behaviors. Here are a couple of ways you can protect your kids from chipping their teeth: 

  • Avoid Hard Foods: Encourage your child to avoid chewing on hard candies, ice cubes, or other hard objects that can increase the risk of chipping teeth.
  • Use Protective Gear: Ensure your child wears appropriate mouthguards or helmets during sports activities to protect their teeth from injury.

What To Do After Your Child Chips a Tooth

When a chipped tooth does occur, seeking prompt dental care is crucial to prevent further damage and alleviate discomfort. 

When you visit your pediatric dentist, expect the following possible treatment options for chipped teeth: 

  • Dental Bonding: Dental bonding is a common treatment for minor chips, where a tooth-colored composite resin is applied to the chipped area to restore its shape and appearance.
  • Dental Crowns: For more significant chips or damage, a dental crown may be recommended to cover and protect the tooth.

Lost Baby Teeth

Baby teeth, otherwise known as deciduous teeth, are your child’s first set of teeth that normally start to fall out around age six. Losing baby teeth is a normal part of your child’s development.

The Natural Process of Losing Baby Teeth

The process of losing baby teeth is among the most common childhood dental concerns among parents. Your child may continue losing their baby teeth until their early teenage years.

This process is often accompanied by discomfort or tenderness in the gums, which is normal and usually subsides once the tooth is lost. 

Importance of Proper Oral Hygiene During Baby Teeth Loss

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits during the transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth is crucial for your child’s dental health. Encourage your child to continue brushing and flossing regularly, paying special attention to the areas around loose teeth.

Proper oral hygiene helps prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as new teeth emerge.

When You Should Seek a Dental Intervention

There are two instances where a dentist becomes necessary.

First, you should take your child to the dentist if permanent teeth are growing behind your child’s baby teeth.

Second, if a baby tooth becomes severely loose but fails to fall out on its own, or if your child experiences prolonged pain or swelling around a loose tooth, consult your child’s dentist for evaluation and guidance.

Mouth Sores

Also among the most common kids’ dental concerns are mouth sores. Mouth sores manifest as painful ulcerations along the gumline, tongue, and mouth. Often, mouth sores cause discomfort in children as they prevent them from eating, drinking, and, sometimes, speaking. 

What Causes Mouth Sores?

Mouth sores can be triggered by various factors, including:

  • Viral infections
  • Trauma or injury to the mouth
  • Allergic reactions to certain foods, medications, or oral care products
  • Hormonal changes, stress, or weakened immune system

When To Visit a Dentist

While most mouth sores resolve on their own within a week or two, persistent or recurrent mouth sores may require evaluation by a dentist or healthcare provider. 

Consult a pediatric dentist if mouth sores:

  • Persist for more than two weeks
  • Cause severe pain or difficulty eating and drinking
  • Recur frequently or are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or swollen lymph nodes


Cavities are also among the most common kids’ dental problems. Cavities or tooth decay affect more than 57% of children aged 12 to 18, according to the CDC.

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities develop when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that erode the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. 

Factors that contribute to the development of cavities in children include:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to accumulate on the teeth, leading to enamel erosion and cavity formation.
  • Frequent Consumption of Sugary Foods and Beverages: Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars from food and drinks, producing acids that weaken the enamel and promote cavity formation.
  • Lack of Fluoride Exposure: Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel and protect against cavities. Insufficient fluoride exposure, whether from water, toothpaste, or dental treatments, increases the risk of cavities.

Dental Treatments for Cavities

If your child develops a cavity, prompt dental treatment is essential to prevent further decay and preserve the affected tooth.

Treatment options for cavities in children may include:

  • Dental Fillings: In cases of mild to moderate cavities, the dentist may remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the cavity with a tooth-colored filling material.
  • Dental Crowns: For more extensive decay or weakened teeth, your child’s dentist may recommend a dental crown to restore the tooth’s strength, function, and appearance.
  • Pulpotomy or Pulpectomy: In cases of severe decay or infection, the dentist may perform a pulpotomy (partial removal of the pulp) or pulpectomy (complete removal of the pulp) to save the tooth and alleviate pain.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common habit among infants and young children, providing comfort and self-soothing during times of stress or boredom.

While thumb sucking is a natural behavior in early childhood, prolonged or aggressive thumb sucking can have implications for your child’s dental health and development.

How To Help Your Child Break the Habit

Here are several ways to address thumb-sucking in your child: 

  • Identify Triggers: Observe when and where your child tends to thumb suck and identify triggers such as stress, boredom, or fatigue.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Praise your child for periods when they refrain from thumb-sucking, and offer rewards or incentives for their efforts.
  • Consultation With a Dentist: If thumb sucking persists beyond the age of four or five, consider consulting with your child’s dentist for additional guidance and intervention strategies.

When To Visit Your Child’s Dentist

You should take your child to the dentist if your child’s thumb-sucking habit persists beyond four or five years of age, or if it is accompanied by dental issues or speech impediments. 

Your child will undergo a thorough evaluation. During the evaluation, the dentist will check for the effects of thumb-sucking like palatal changes or malocclusion.

From here, the dentist will develop a care plan designed to correct any dental effects that thumb sucking has caused. 

For Any of Your Kid’s Dental Problems, We’re Here for You

Dental problems can escalate into more severe ones, but they don’t have to. With early dental care, your child’s dental health is assured. 

At Bay Area Kids Dentist, we specialize in treating childhood dental problems, from tooth decay to extensively damaged teeth. Our team of board-certified pediatric dentists has additional training in oral health care for infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special health care needs. We know how to examine and treat children in ways that make them comfortable and our offices that are arranged and decorated with children in mind. 

If you have concerns about your child’s teeth, schedule an appointment today to bring back your child’s smile!