At SP Orthodontics, we know that crooked teeth not only affect your child’s appearance, but they can also affect their self-esteem and result in further dental issues, such as cavities, speech disorientation, and gum diseases. Crooked teeth can also make practicing good oral hygiene challenging, as your child may struggle to brush or floss.
Many adults experienced crooked teeth while growing up, and they would like to keep their children from the same fate. Therefore, taking preventive measures to ensure your children don’t experience the stress and humiliation of having crooked teeth is a great solution. That’s why our Matthews orthodontists, Dr. Neal Patel, and Dr. Bhaven Sayania, have put together this article that describes 5 ways to prevent crooked teeth during childhood in Matthews, NC.
However, before we dive into the best ways to prevent the development of crooked teeth in your child, let’s consider the causes of crooked teeth during childhood and the problems your child is likely to face due to crooked teeth.
What Causes Crooked Teeth During Childhood?
There are a few things that influence the development of crooked teeth. While genetics play a huge role in causing crooked teeth, certain oral habits and lifestyle choices can also affect how children’s teeth grow. For example, your child may have extra teeth in their mouth, a misaligned or small jaw, large teeth, or teeth that are spaced far apart.
Lifestyle habits that can cause crooked teeth include:
- Thumb sucking
- Poor oral hygiene
- Sucking on a pacifier past the age of 24 months
- Tongue thrusting
- Inadequate or unhealthy nutrition
- Missing teeth (leading to teeth shifting and overcrowding)
What Problems Do Crooked Teeth Cause?
Aside from altering the overall appearance of your face and smile, crooked teeth can cause other oral health problems. Some common issues associated with crooked teeth are:
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Extensive wear on the teeth, jaws, or gums
- Improper digestion
- Difficulty speaking
- Gum disease
- Low self-esteem and confidence
How To Prevent Crooked Teeth During Childhood: 5 Steps To Follow
Crooked teeth can be prevented if care is taken to provide children with the correct dental guidance and teach them healthy habits. Here are five steps to follow if you want to keep your child from developing crooked teeth:
1. Don’t Allow Thumb Sucking
Preventing undue pressure on developing gums is one of the best ways to avoid crooked teeth. For example, many children naturally suck on their thumbs for comfort. However, if this habit continues for an extended period, it can damage your child’s front teeth, gums, or the roof of their mouth.
Weaning your child off of suckling activities, like thumb sucking, pacifiers, bottle feeding longer than necessary, and tongue thrusting, can reduce the risk of crooked teeth or malocclusions. In addition, try to determine what causes your child to suck on their thumb. Do they do it when hungry, bored, or tired? Understanding this can help you decide on the right approach to prevent them from sucking their thumb.
2. Encourage Better Oral Hygiene Habits
If your child’s dental hygiene is poor, it can impact the appearance of their adult teeth later. For example, gum disease in young children causes bacteria and decay which can penetrate the gums, affecting the dormant adult teeth. Therefore, you must encourage good oral habits so your children will develop healthy gums and teeth.
For the first few years of their life, you should help your child brush their teeth, and when they can brush by themselves, you should monitor them to ensure they are doing it correctly. They can also have their first dental appointment as soon as their first teeth appear, as this allows your orthodontist to detect possible problems and recommend the best approach to fix the issues.
3. Respond to Tooth Loss Early On
Early tooth loss, especially if they are permanent teeth, can have a significant effect on the oral health of your child as they grow older. While tooth loss may occur for many reasons, some of which are not preventable, it’s essential to do something about it.
The teeth in the area surrounding the lost tooth may start shifting into the gap and become crooked. If this occurs, take your child to an orthodontic practice in Matthews, NC, so they can examine and treat missing teeth to ensure the proper growth of the surrounding teeth. At SP Orthodontics, we will help monitor the surrounding teeth for signs or tendencies that they may begin to move into the gap and provide appropriate measures to prevent it from occurring.
4. Watch for Signs of Crooked Teeth
You can minimize the long-term impact of crooked teeth if you catch the signs early. Look out for signs like changing facial appearance, difficulty in speaking or swallowing, or misalignment in teeth development. Early detection will help your orthodontist to actively intervene as the permanent teeth come through and provide the proper treatment later on.
Before your child is 10 years old, they may not need braces to correct their bite if these signs are detected early. However, when they’re older than 12, braces are highly recommended to restore crooked teeth.
5. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Once your child’s teeth come through and begin to develop, bringing them to the dentist to examine their teeth is essential. This helps them to come with the process and learn not to be fearful of recurring visits to the orthodontist as they grow. In addition, many tooth complications in toddlers and teenagers can be prevented if an orthodontist is brought into the equation early.
Fix Your Child’s Crooked Teeth In Matthews, NC
If your child has crooked teeth, a misaligned bite, or malocclusions, our orthodontists in Matthews, NC can improve your child’s bite. We take extreme care to ensure we provide the best treatments using modern technologies to help improve their smile and facial appearance. Please schedule an appointment with us today, and let us help you fix your child’s crooked teeth.