As an adult, you know when you need to see the dentist. You probably seek their care whenever you feel tooth pain, see a spot on your teeth, or worry about an unpleasant odor. But what about your toddler? They're not aware of their own dental health enough to let you know when they need a dental appointment, so it's up to you to decide when to bring them in. Here are some signs your tot needs some professional tooth care.
1. They're holding their mouth a lot.
Some kids will say their mouth hurts, but shyer, quieter ones may not say anything if they experience occasional tooth pain. However, you will often see them holding their mouth, putting their hands against their cheek, or quickly bringing their hand towards their face after taking a bite of something. What they are doing is instinctively applying pressure to the sore area as the pressure tends to alleviate the pain. The pain could be from a cavity or tooth decay, which only a dentist can fix.
2. Loose teeth.
Every child loses their baby teeth on a different schedule. The process usually begins at age 6, although some kids lose their first tooth at age 5. Toddlers, however, are too young to be losing their baby teeth. If your child is younger than five and one of their teeth feels loose (or falls out completely), this is a sign they should see the dentist. They could have an underlying medical condition leading to the early tooth loss, or they may have injured themselves and not informed you.
3. Bleeding gums.
If you are seeing pink in the sink after brushing your toddler's teeth, they could have gum disease. While gum disease may not seem like a big deal, it can progress to the point of causing tooth loss, and it also increases the bacterial load in the mouth, making cavities more likely. It is best to treat it early, and in toddlers, this can be tough if they do not let you floss their teeth thoroughly. Make an appointment with the dentist who can assess the severity of the gum disease, and then do a deep cleaning or prescribe a special rinse if needed.
Keep a close eye on your toddler's teeth and oral health. If you notice any of the signs above, it is time to make an appointment with a family dentist.