When We Examine Your Child’s Mouth


When your child comes for a dental exam, Dr. Beth and Dr. Chris will always check for plaque buildup, cavities, and the overall health of your child’s mouth. But it may surprise you to know what else we can learn. Many of your child’s habits affect their dental health in visible ways, and a large part of pediatric dentistry is watching for these signs. We can tell if your child…

… flosses properly.

Flossing is essential to the health of your child’s gums. If the gums are pink and hug the teeth tightly, we know they’re healthy. If they’re puffy, red, or inflamed, we can tell your child hasn’t been flossing.

… has a sinus infection.

The sinuses run just above the upper jaw, and when infected, they can cause that area to become sore and sensitive. If your child is showing unusual sensitivity in their upper teeth, they probably have a sinus infection.

… bites their nails.

Nail biting causes extra wear on the front teeth and results in a flat, leveled-off look. This is easily apparent when your child comes in for a dental exam. If the front teeth are ground flat, we know your child is a nail biter.

… gets enough vitamins.

Depending on what vitamins they’re missing, children–and adults!–can experience several different symptoms in their mouths. Sores on the inside of the mouth or the tongue can be caused by vitamin deficiency, as can deep fissures in the tongue or the loss of tiny papillae on the tongue’s surface. Easy bleeding and delayed healing are also  warning signs. If any of those problems are apparent during your child’s exam, we’ll recommend more vitamins.

… sucks their thumb.

A thumb-sucking habit is one of the biggest problems affecting the alignment of children’s teeth. Teeth are designed to rest between meals, and this constant pressure takes its toll. Thumb sucking shifts the front teeth up and forward over time, and can change your child’s bite so much that there is a large open gap between the upper and lower teeth even when they bite down.

Whether it’s quitting a habit like thumb sucking, or starting one like flossing, change is a big effort that takes time and consistency. At Clark Family Dental, we’ll do whatever we can to help your entire family maintain good dental health, from spotting the signs to giving you the best advice on the changes you need. If your child is due for an exam, schedule with us today by calling our office or using our online contact form.

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