When kids are young, they do not always have the vocabulary or even the awareness to tell you what is wrong. As such, a lot of dental problems in young kids go unaddressed until they cause serious pain or really obvious symptoms. This is one reason why regular dental checkups are so important for kids; they help ensure problems get caught early. However, as a parent, you should also look out for these subtle signs your child needs to see a pediatric dentist.
Avoiding cold or hot foods
Did your child used to enjoy ice cream, but now they avoid it? Perhaps they take a bite or two but then do not want any more. Or you might notice that your child does not eat the warmer foods on their plate. They might wait for things to cool down completely before eating them, or they may not eat anything warm at all. Cavities often cause tooth sensitivity, which can lead children to avoid hot and cold foods like this. So if your child is suddenly picky or wary of food temperatures, it's time for them to see the dentist.
Ongoing bad breath
Kids do tend to get bad breath a lot. They sometimes avoid brushing their teeth, which can lead to bad breath. If they have a cold and congestion, they might sleep with their mouth open, which also causes bad breath. When you should be a little more worried, though, is if your child brushes their teeth and still has bad breath. In this case, the bad breath is often coming from either a cavity or gum disease. Both problems will only get worse if your child does not receive dental treatment soon.
Acting protective of their mouth
Sometimes children start displaying weird behaviors that are rooted in protecting or being careful about their mouth. They might hold their hand over their mouth as they chew. Or they might be careful not to rest their head on the pillow in a certain position. Some kids try to avoid brushing their teeth, or they might only brush on one side. All of these behaviors could just be to a silly, minor thing like a canker sore, but they could also be due to a bigger dental problem that needs addressing.
These signs are subtle, but they do mean your child should see the dentist. Call and make an appointment soon.