Tooth Decay

Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. It is the number one most prevalent disease of children in the United States. When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to break down or dissolve the outer layer of the tooth called the enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave such acidic deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can also be the result of grinding or severe wear of the teeth from exposure to high levels of sugar or acidic drinks and foods. Reducing intake of sensitivity causing foods can often eliminate tooth sensitivity.

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Because the sores are caused by a viral herpes infection, they will last one or two weeks and the only treatment is palliative treatment to alleviate the symptoms. There are over the counter numbing gels and antimicrobials that may lessen the discomfort associated with the sores. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. The first time a young child has an outbreak of mouth sores, there are often multiple lesions accompanied by bloody gums, inability to eat, and a low grade fever. Your pediatric dentist can often prescribe a special mouth rinse that can soothe your child’s symptoms so they are able to eat.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, impacted teeth that did not erupt, inadequate space in the jaws, misaligned jaws. Developmental issues or habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, or mouth breathing can also cause changes in the jaw that can result in a malocclusion. Talk to your pediatric dentist about these issues at your appointment. Early intervention usually means a better outcome in the future and less treatment. Your pediatric dentist may work in conjunction with a speech therapist or an orthodontist to provide the most complete treatment for your child’s orthodontic needs.


Trauma to the mouth rises significantly at 2 years of age when your child learns to walk. Should your child experience dental trauma, take your child to the emergency room immediately to clear any life threatening medical issues. After those issues are resolved, call your pediatric dentist immediately. Trauma may cause teeth in your child teeth to be mobile which is a source for possible aspiration of the tooth into the lungs. Your pediatric dentist will give you suggestions on oral care during this period of healing.

Sports Injuries

Another common source for trauma is sports and outdoor activities. Should your child have facial trauma related to a sports injury, take him/her to the nearest medical facility to make sure that there are no life threatening emergencies that need to be addressed. Call your pediatric dentist immediately afterwards to discuss your findings regarding your child’s teeth. There may be procedures that need to be completed within the first 24 hours after injury in order to save the traumatized permanent teeth.