Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Dental problems in children can appear at an early age and cause a great deal of discomfort. Here we'll explain the most frequent ones and what you can do to avoid them.
Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Last update: 14 January, 2021

Dental problems in children can appear at an early age and cause them a variety of ailments. Here, we’ll go over the most frequent dental problems in children and what you can do to avoid them.

Although dental problems are very common, they’re almost always preventable. When they appear, they alter the normal functions of the mouth, such as chewing, phonation, and swallowing.

In the following article, we’ll tell you about the most common dental problems in children, as well as their causes and treatments. We’ll also remind you what you can do to ensure that your child’s mouth is always healthy.

Most common dental problems in children

Most Common Dental Problems in Children

Dental cavities

Cavities are among the most common dental problems in children. They’re the loss of mineral tissue in the tooth, due to the action of the acids produced by the bacteria present in the mouth.

When the condition starts, small white spots are seen on the tooth surface. As they progress, there’s a change in color to black or brown and loss of tissue, forming cavities or holes in the teeth.

As we mentioned, the loss of the minerals that make up the tooth happens through the action of the acids that the bacteria present in the mouth produce when fermenting the sugars in the diet. Poor oral hygiene and high consumption of sugars predispose children to the appearance of this pathology.

There’s a particular form of cavities in younger children called “early childhood cavities” or “baby bottle cavities.” This condition has to do with frequent consumption of sweetened milk and lack of hygiene after feeding.

The permanence of sugar on the tooth’s surface encourages the appearance of these rapidly advancing cavities. This is especially true in the front teeth.

Consequences of this dental problem in children

The presence of cavities and their progression due to lack of treatment leads to various complications in children:

  • Pain and discomfort: When the depth of the lesion increases, the cavities approach the dental pulp, where the nerves are, thus generating sensitivity and pain.
  • Tooth destruction and loss: The advance of the injury wears away and even breaks the tooth. This, at the same time, causes movement in the neighboring pieces, malocclusions, and bite problems.
  • Infections: Cavities can become complicated by the infection of the tooth or of the hard or soft tissues neighboring the affected piece.
  • Damage to the permanent tooth: When the cavities advance in a temporary tooth, it can affect the correct formation of the permanent tooth that’s underneath.
  • Low self-esteem and social problems: Broken and stained teeth can be a cause of teasing that can make a child feel self-conscious.

Treatments for dental cavities

The type of treatment to reverse the cavities will depend on their size and time of evolution. An incipient cavity can be treated with the therapeutic application of fluoride.

For cavities with holes and loss of tissue, cleaning and restoration with fillings will be necessary. Regardless of the type of cavities, it’s always necessary to treat them and slow down their progress to avoid complications.

Dental trauma

Knocks to the teeth is another of the most common dental problems in children. They often occur when young children start walking and are then associated with accidents during play or sports. The most frequently affected teeth are the upper incisors, because they’re the most exposed.

Blows can affect both baby and permanent teeth. The dental crown can be partially or completely broken, move out of place, or even be expelled from the mouth.

What comes next will depend on the type of tooth affected, but always, in the event of a blow to the mouth, it’s best to go to the dentist immediately. In the event that the tooth comes out of the mouth, it should be found and transported in milk or physiological solution.

The professional will examine the affected tissues and decide on the appropriate treatment. These can range from a simple fluoride placement and subsequent controls, restorations or fillings, root canal treatments, or even the reimplantation of the tooth in its place and its immobilization with splints.

As we mentioned, it’s crucial that you go urgently to the dentist because the faster you act, the better the prognosis.


Misaligned teeth and complications of normal biting are common dental problems for children. Observing the position of the teeth as they emerge and the relationship of the upper teeth to the lower teeth when biting is important in detecting any abnormalities in a child’s occlusion.

Home monitoring and regular dental consultations help to reveal these problems in time. The earlier they’re addressed, the easier and more convenient the treatment usually is.

This type of dental problem in children can originate for several reasons:

  • Presence of dysfunctional habits such as finger sucking, prolonged use of a pacifier or bottle, and mouth breathing
  • Absence or premature loss of baby teeth
  • Hereditary and genetic factors
  • Bruxism

The treatments will depend on the type and degree of malocclusion and also on the age of the child and the type of teeth present in the mouth. Depending on the case, they can be corrected with the use of braces, fixed orthodontics with brackets, or invisible orthodontics.

Most Common Dental Problems in Children


The presence of bacterial plaque around the tooth can lead to inflammation of the gums. They become red, bleed easily, hurt, and there’s bad breath in the mouth. The cause of this dental problem in children is faulty oral hygiene. Using a toothbrush and dental floss and consulting a pediatric dentist are usually enough to treat this condition.

How can the most common dental problems in children be avoided?

Good oral hygiene practices and healthy behaviors will help keep the mouth healthy. Here are some tips to prevent dental problems in children:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush children’s teeth two or three times a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Complement this with daily flossing and, if the dentist recommends it, with mouthwashes.
  • Avoid cavity-producing foods: Reduce or avoid the consumption of foods with a high sugar content. It’s best that children are given a varied diet rich in nutrients.
  • Eliminate harmful habits: In cases of children who suck their fingers, bite their nails, breathe through their mouths, use a pacifier or bottle for longer than recommended, you’ll need to seek help to eliminate these practices that are harmful to the mouth.
  • Consultations with the dentist: Regular and timely visits to the dentist help to maintain a healthy mouth. The professional detects any problem in time and offers important advice regarding oral care.

Dental problems in children can be avoided

Dental problems in children can appear from an early age. Several pathologies often occur in children’s mouths. A healthy mouth is necessary for the correct development of a child’s life. Therefore, adequate oral hygiene, healthy practices, and dental consultations will keep their smile healthy.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gómez, Roberto Carlos Ojeda, and Kevin Dávila Guarniz. “Prevalencia de caries dental en niños de la Clínica Estomatológica de la Universidad Señor de Sipán.” Salud & Vida Sipanense 4.2 (2017): 14-19.
  • Ramón Jimenez, Ruth, et al. “Factores de riesgo de caries dental en escolares de 5 a 11 años.” Medisan 20.5 (2016): 604-610.
  • Sernaque Lama, Melissa Elizabeth. “Prevalencia de caries dental en niños de 6 a 12 años de la institución educativa particular San José, del distrito de Chimbote, provincia del Santa, región Áncash, año 2018.” (2018).
  • Zaldivar, Héctor Andrés Naranjo. “Traumatismos dentarios: un acercamiento imprescindible.” 16 de Abril 56.265 (2017): 113-118.
  • Sánchez, Tamara Batista, et al. “Traumatismos dentarios en niños y adolescentes.” Correo Científico Médico de Holguín 20.4 (2016): 741-756.
  • Navarrete Angulo, Nilda Eugenia, and María Angela Pita Sobral. “Factores relacionados con maloclusiones en niños ecuatorianos de 3-9 años de edad.” Revista Cubana de Estomatología 57.2 (2020).
  • Mamani Nina, Edith Banesa. “Hábitos orales nocivos asociados a las Maloclusiones en niños de 6 a 8 años en la IE Señor de los Milagros en la ciudad de Moquegua, 2019.” (2020).
  • Castro-Rodríguez, Yuri. “Enfermedad periodontal en niños y adolescentes. A propósito de un caso clínico.” Revista clínica de periodoncia, implantología y rehabilitación oral 11.1 (2018): 36-38.
  • de la Luz Ayala, Carmen. “Los pediatras en la prevención de enfermedades bucales.” Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay 87.3 (2016): 257-262.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.