Your child might refuse to eat carrot sticks, almonds and pretzels, but is it for the reason you think? Rather than disliking the taste of these foods, your child might be suffering from chewing issues that make biting hard food painful. Uncover the dental-related causes of chewing issues and learn how to help your child enjoy eating again.
What Causes Chewing Issues?
A number of reasons could be behind your child’s inability to chew without pain:
- Tooth decay: Every time your child eats, bacteria feed on the simple sugars that cling to the teeth, forming plaque. This softens the enamel and dentin, leaving teeth vulnerable. Even saliva can dissolve softened teeth, causing holes, or cavities, to form. Cavities can hurt a lot, especially when your child puts pressure on the affected tooth when chewing.
- Tooth infection: Unless cavities are quickly addressed by a dentist, they cause the inner pulp of the tooth to become eroded and damaged. This produces a painful tooth infection, making it difficult to chew.
- Tooth loss: Bad oral habits, even at a young age, can cause tooth loss. Failure to brush nightly, continued use of a bottle or a physical accident can cause baby teeth to fall out early. As a parent, you may not be overly concerned because you know permanent teeth will replace them. However, without baby teeth as a guide, adult teeth could come in very crooked. Plus, early tooth loss can cause chewing issues.
- Bite problem: Hold your jaw askew for a moment and try to bite down. It’s not very comfortable, is it? If your child has a bite problem, this could be what chewing feels like all the time.
- TMJ disorder: Occasional jaw soreness or tightness is normal, but lingering pain can make chewing, smiling and even breathing difficult. If your child complains of jaw pain, she may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. There isn’t always a clear cause for TMJ disorders, but tooth grinding, bite problems, arthritis or trauma to the face are all potential causes.
How to Correct Chewing Issues
Depending on the cause, possible solutions to your child’s chewing issues include:
- Dental visit: This is the first place to start if your child complains of pain while chewing. Dr. Evanson can perform a dental exam and pinpoint whether the chewing issue is treatable in our office.
- Restorative dentistry: Fillings, crowns, root canals and extractions are all restorative dentistry services your child can receive from Dr. Evanson. This is the route you should take if your child has decayed or infected teeth.
- Spacers: In the case of early tooth loss, spacers can help preserve a spot for adult teeth until they’re ready to erupt. They also help make chewing more comfortable by protecting the gums.
- Orthodontics: Retainers, braces or head gear can straighten teeth and correct improper bites to make chewing more comfortable.
- Night guard: Wearing a special mouth guard at night can help your child stop grinding her teeth. This helps prevent jaw pain and TMJ disorders that can lead to chewing difficulties. Dr. Evanson can fit your child with a night guard to put a stop to tooth grinding.
- Preventative dental treatment: Don’t wait until your child develops another dental problem in the future. Bring her in for childhood dental care, which includes professional teeth cleanings, fluoride treatment and dental sealants. This last option is especially beneficial for children whose teeth are susceptible to decay.
It’s difficult to stand by and watch your child be in pain. Fortunately, you now know the top ways to help your child chew comfortably so she can eat a wider range of food for her growing body. To schedule an appointment for you or your child, please contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →