February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to focus on your child’s oral wellbeing! Surf City Dental recommends teaching kids proper brushing and flossing techniques and instilling good oral habits as early as possible. This, along with routine dentist visits, is the best way to ensure your little one enjoys a dazzling smile for life!

Even with good dental practices, however, youngsters are likely to experience troubles from time to time. As a parent, knowing what to watch out for can keep these dental concerns from becoming severe and, possibly, affecting other aspects of your child’s development like eating, speaking, playing, and learning.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common adolescent issues seen by our Surf City Dental team.


An always trending topic in children’s dental health, cavities form as a result of tooth decay, which is often caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and diets high in sugar and starch.

When your child eats sweets or drinks soda and fruit juices, all of which contain excessive amounts of sugar, plaque builds on their teeth and starts to eat away at the protective enamel layer. Foods high in starch, like potatoes, rice, and bread can contribute to plaque as well and should also be limited.

If your kiddo isn’t consistent about their brushing and flossing routine, or aren’t able to do so properly, this plaque will continue to erode the tooth enamel, eventually causing a cavity.

Pediatric Periodontal Disease

Also known as gingivitis, this condition causes the mouth to become irritated. If left untreated, it can lead to gum disease, a bacterial infection that wreaks havoc on the gums and can damage the underlying structure of the teeth.

Pediatric periodontal disease is a progressive disorder, increasing in severity the longer it persists. As it moves through each subsequent phase, symptoms will become more serious and harmful to both oral health and overall wellbeing. Watch for the following development:

1. Gingivitis
The mildest form of this disease, gingivitis typically causes red, swollen, and sore gums that bleed while brushing and flossing. These symptoms, and the pain associated with them, generally don’t persist outside of these activities, however.

2. Mild Periodontitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, mild periodontitis occurs. At this stage, symptoms advance with loss of bone around the teeth, consistently experiencing a bad taste in the mouth, loose teeth, and the development of periodontal pockets, which are created when the gums start separating from the teeth.

3. Moderate to Advanced Periodontitis
The same symptoms as the previous phase will display here, but on an elevated level. For example, teeth and their supporting structures may become so damaged that they have to be removed.

As with nearly all dental issues, the best way to prevent your child from developing gum disease is to ensure they’re sticking to a thorough oral health routine – brushing in the morning and at night and flossing daily.

Additional Dental Issues to Note

Cavities and gum disease are some of the most severe dental problems adolescents experience, but there are others that can also take a toll on your little one’s oral health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.

Sensitive Teeth

Childhood tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of factors, making the origin difficult to determine. For example, your child might experience sensitivity from cavities, new teeth breaking through the gums, worn or eroded enamel, teeth grinding, cracked or missing fillings, and orthodontic treatments. A visit with their Surf City dentist can help uncover what issue is causing their discomfort.

Dental Emergencies

As hard as we try to prevent them, youths are almost guaranteed to get into accidents every once in a while. Luckily, teeth are surprisingly resilient, but sometimes these spills result in cracked, chipped, broken, or loose teeth. In severe mishaps, your youngster might even lose a tooth or two. If any of these situations occur, contact your child’s dentist right away for a consultation so you can get them back on the road to recovery!

Chronic Thumb Sucking

This comfort-seeking behavior typically only becomes problematic if your little one continues sucking his or her thumb after their permanent teeth begin to develop, generally around age five. If it persists, the act can create what’s called an open bite, or overbite. This is where the upper and lower teeth don’t come together when the mouth is closed, perpetuating issues with speech, biting, and chewing.

Bad Breath

Certain foods might cause your kid’s breath to smell poorly at times, but persistent mouth odor usually indicates a bigger problem. If your child follows a good oral cleaning routine and still deals with this issue, visit their Surf City dentist to ensure there’s not something more serious going on.

Toothless grin or mouth full of crooked teeth, few things compare to a child’s smile. Our Surf City Dental team is committed to helping parents understand the nuances that accompany growing mouths and teeth, which is essential to keeping your little one beaming from ear to ear!