Parents worry about a number of things from the second their baby is born. Unfortunately the importance of teeth and orthodontic checks are not fully understood.
Parents know it is essential to ensure they brush their child’s teeth at least twice a day, drink milk for calcium and that flossing should be done but are sometimes confused by misconceptions. Today I am going to share with you how to clean your child’s teeth, tell-tale signs dental work may be required and the significance of orthodontic checks.
How to clean your child’s teeth
Children typically think they can clean their teeth by themselves from a young age (especially toddlers) and while it is great to let them practise, it is vital that you do the job properly.
• Face your child or have them looking towards a mirror with you standing behind them. This allows you to see inside their mouth while brushing their teeth in a circular motion.
• Let them hold the brush as you clean their teeth so they become familiar with the action. Supervise children under the age of 6 as they tend to swallow toothpaste.
• Start from a young age so it introduces good habits.
Signs your child could benefit seeing an orthodontist
Orthodontists do much more than putting braces on. They are experts in teeth straightening for kids, teens and adults which is why they can identify the best treatment options for each individual.
Knowing the signs of when and why you should take your child to see an orthodontist can save you many dramas and further problems later down the track. As children grow the straightness of their teeth and bite can become a concern. Early intervention is the key!
• Thumb sucking – thumb sucking beyond the age of 5 can cause the shape of a child’s mouth and palate to change shape. This can result in ‘buck teeth’.
• Irregular loss of baby teeth – if baby teeth are lost too early, it can cause crowding in the mouth as the new teeth are too large for the small space which may result in surrounding teeth to shift. If a child has not lost any teeth by the age of 8, they should be seen by an orthodontist just to make sure there is not an underlying problem.
• Crowded, crooked or misplaced teeth – there are several reasons your child could suffer from these. Drinking from a bottle from an extended period of time, small/large teeth, prolonged thumb and finger sucking, early loss of teeth and many more. This often results in chipped or broken teeth.
• Overbite or underbite – irregular bites can cause damage to teeth, gums and jaw.
• Speech, breathing or chewing difficulties – When teeth, bite or jaw are not in their proper place, it can cause speech, breathing and chewing difficulties. Improper jaw placement causes stress on facial muscles and jaw joints; without treatment this will only become worse.
Visit the ASO website and see the infographic below for more signs your child may require an orthodontic visit.
Did you know….
• A registered orthodontist must complete a general dental degree and an additional 3 year full time accredited university degree in orthodontics.
• You do not need a referral from your dentist to make an appointment with an orthodontist.
• The ASO (Australian Society of Orthodontists) support patients and potential patients in making the best decision for their situation. They help find local registered specialist orthodontists and assist patients in understanding what to expect before, during and after treatment.
The importance of teeth are often understated and are left as a second thought. Make the right decision for your children and be stringent with cleaning and dental checks!
When was your last dental or orthodontic check up?
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