Children go through many changes during their growth years, and as parents, we need to be aware of how these changes affect a child’s health. Some changes may lead your child to pick up bad habits or ignore their health and hygiene, which can permanently affect their development.
Your child’s oral health needs attention from an early age. One area of development that usually gets neglected is their teeth. When babies start teething, they may get into the habit of thumb sucking or biting down on toys. While this helps promote the growth of teeth, it may misalign the teeth. Even in puberty, hormonal changes can cause swollen gums, calcium deficiency, and even gingivitis.
However, if you visit a dentist regularly and keep an eye out for some tell-tale signs, you can nip the problem in the bud by getting braces for your child. Here are some issues you should keep an eye out for –
- Crooked Teeth – The shape of your child’s teeth is the most obvious sign that your little one needs braces. Crooked teeth may blight the child’s good looks and affect their confidence. They also make it challenging to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Gaps Between Teeth – Diastema or gaps between teeth result from excessive thumb sucking or ‘bunny teeth’ wherein the front teeth are pulled forward or pushed inward. Gaps between teeth also happen if the jaw bone is too big for the teeth when they grow.
- Overbite – Overbite is where the front teeth cover the lower teeth because they sit too far forward from the lower teeth. The reason could be that the upper jaw is bigger than the lower one or thumb-sucking.
- Underbite – Underbite is the opposite of an overbite. It happens when the lower teeth sit too far forward and cover the upper teeth. Prolonged use of a pacifier and milk bottles may result in an underbite. It makes chewing difficult and strains the jaw muscles. Underbite correction is necessary for children who complain of discomfort or pain in their jaws.
- Thumb Sucking–Thumb sucking is a common habit among young children. Prolonged thumb sucking may cause serious dental issues. It increases the possibility of malocclusion or misalignment of teeth.
- Breathing Through the Mouth – A persistently blocked nasal passage mayforce your baby to breathe through the mouth. Complete or partial obstruction of the nose due to allergies, enlarged nostrils, or an abnormal jaw shape may be the reason. Continuous mouth breathing in children can impact the formation and development of your child’s facial muscles.
- Your Child Often Complains of Mouth Pain – Misaligned teeth or a mishappen jaw can cause constant discomfort or pain. Unequal distribution of the mouth’s biting force makes some teeth bite down harder than others. It can be painful to eat or talk due to this condition.
- Jaws that Make Odd Noises – Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ is a condition that affects the sliding hinge-like connection between the jaw and skull. Dysfunction in this joint can cause discomfort, pain, clicking noises, and locking of the jaw joint. If your child complains of odd noises in their mouth or jaw, meet a dentist right away.
- Cheek Biting – We all have experienced an accidental cheek bite now and then. If it happens regularly to your child, it may be due to misalignment of the jaw. It may lead to mouth injuries or infection.
It is never in our control that our child’s teeth should grow out perfectly aligned, but by noticing these simple signs, we can prevent the development of severe oral health problems. Schedule the first dentist appointment for your child at the age of seven so that the doctor can let you know if your child needs braces.
Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily, and she loves researching and writing about it. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake, and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!