5 Concerns Parents Have About Their Child’s Oral Health

Becoming a parent means that now you are worried about your child, pretty much all of the time. It’s completely normal, but it does seem like there’s always something new to be worried or concerned about. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry wants to address some of these common concerns parents may have, as well as the solutions for them.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Does your baby love their bottle? A lot of infants and some toddlers drink a bottle to soothe them before bed and put them to sleep. While this is helpful to parents, it can actually be detrimental to your child’s teeth. Children’s teeth can start to decay, leading to cavities and other oral issues. Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by exposure of the baby’s teeth to milk or sugary drinks, typically for prolonged periods. Babies sucking on these bottles to go to sleep and throughout the night now have decay-causing sugars sitting on their teeth.

To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, do not put your child to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or any sweetened drink. Before going to sleep, their teeth should be brushed thoroughly to remove sugars from their teeth and gums.


Gingivitis is common in both adults and children. Gingivitis causes irritation, redness and swelling of the gum area right above the teeth. It is also known as gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when food particles and plaque don’t get brushed or flossed away and start to form bacteria. This leads to the bacterial infection of the gums known as gingivitis.

If you’re worried about your child getting gingivitis, the best thing you can do is practice healthy oral hygiene in an effort to prevent it. Brushing twice a day and flossing every day can keep the teeth and gum free of harmful bacteria.

Dental Emergencies

While you can never predict an emergency, can you be prepared. There are a few common types of dental emergencies we see at Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry. We want to share with parents what these are and what you should do if they were to occur.

  • Toothache: If your child is experiencing a toothache, it’s important to determine the cause for the pain. The possibilities include impacted food, tooth fracture, wisdom teeth eruption, or tooth decay. If rinsing with warm water or flossing doesn’t help reduce the pain, contact your pediatric dentist for an emergency appointment.
  • Knocked-Out Tooth: If your child falls or gets hit during a sports game and has their tooth knocked out – don’t panic. Have your child bite down on a clean washcloth or clean gauze to help stop the bleeding. Then, determine whether it was a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If it was a permanent tooth, track down the tooth and bring it in with you to your emergency appointment at Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry. Sometimes these teeth can be re-implanted if the dentist is seen quickly enough.
  • Broken Tooth: These emergencies can also be caused by sports-related injuries or just accidents. If your child chips, cracks, or breaks a tooth, rinse their mouth out with water and apply ice. Contact Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry and make an emergency appointment immediately to prevent any infection.
  • Cut Lip, Tongue or Cheek: If your child has a laceration in their mouth from a bite or cutting it on something, use a cold compress to help reduce swelling. If the cut bleeds for longer than 15 minutes after applying pressure, your child should be taken to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

Tooth Sensitivity

Some parents may notice their children complaining of tooth pain or sensitivity when eating hot or cold temperature foods, as well as beverages. This is a sign of tooth sensitivity. There are a few possible explanations for this sensitivity, including cavities, cracked teeth, or worn away enamel. Enamel is a hard shell that protects the nerves within the teeth, and when it’s worn away – it doesn’t come back. For that reason, it’s imperative that you help your children take care of their tooth enamel with healthy dental hygiene, as well as removing sugary and acidic drinks from their diet. Drinks like soda and juice can eat away at tooth enamel. Regular visits to the pediatric dentist will also help ensure healthy tooth enamel.

Sports Injuries

As mentioned before, there are a lot of dental emergencies related to sports injuries. Kids often come into the pediatric dentist for broken, cracked, chipped, or knocked-out teeth after a sports accident. To prevent these types of emergencies, it’s best to supply your child with a mouthguard. For the best level of protection, your child should have a mouthguard custom-made for their mouth at the pediatric dentist.

Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy and Happy

There’s no getting around being worried for your child – it just comes with parenting. But, there is something to be said about being prepared and being proactive to help prevent any oral health issues that may arise. If you have any questions regarding these five common concerns, contact Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry today!

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