Parenting Wins with Good Choices
As a parent, you want to make sure you create an environment for your child to grow and flourish. A lot of consideration and love is put into your crafting their upbringing so they can have a good experience and avoid problems down the road. Up high on the list for parents is making sure your child’s teeth are cared for and develop correctly. You know that a healthy mouth and straight teeth will mean an easier life for your kids, and you’re willing to do whatever is required to get there.
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we understand that parenting is far from easy. Sometimes, you just have to make difficult decisions for your child and hope for the best. We’d like to help simplify at least one aspect of your parenting decisions. So we’ve compiled a few of our recommendations to make sure your child’s teeth develop correctly.
Keep Teeth Healthy
Healthy teeth are the most important piece of having a healthy smile for life. These are our top tips to help your kid’s teeth stay healthy as they develop.
- Bring your baby to see one of our pediatric dentists by the time they turn 1, or they get their first tooth, whichever is first.
- Keep your baby’s gums clean by rubbing them with a wet cloth after eating or drinking.
- Don’t leave a bottle in your baby’s crib.
- Start brushing your kid’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts.
- Start a healthy oral health routine.
- Give your child healthy food options and limit bad ones.
- Bring your child to the pediatric dentist for regular check-ups.
- Help them learn about good oral health through reading.
Corrective Behavior Intervention
Genetics do play a role in the health and structure of your teeth and mouth. However, there are things that you can do to help your child’s smile develop to its maximum potential, naturally. Corrective behavior intervention can make things easier for you and your child as their teeth develop.
Pacifier use is a much-debated topic in the parenting world. Your decision to use a pacifier or not can be impacted by the nature of your baby and their preferences. Some babies need to soothe themselves through sucking more while others seem to be fine without it. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that pacifier use can be implemented when done appropriately. Whatever you choose, you’re making the right choice for your baby and family. Just like anything, there are pros and cons to pacifier use. As your child gets older, the cons outweigh the pros so it will be time to begin thinking about how to say Bye Bye Binky.
Babies have a strong rooting and sucking reflex, and as we already discussed, some babies and toddlers need to suck for comfort more than others. If this sounds like your baby, they may grow to develop a thumb-sucking habit, especially if you’ve already said Bye Bye Binky. Since children use sucking to soothe, you can identify your child’s stress triggers and help them overcome and calm down without thumb sucking.
Intervention, positive reinforcement, and rewards can help break the habit.
Pacifier use or thumbsucking past the age of 2 can result in protruding front teeth and cause other teeth to come in crooked. If you want to help your child develop nice straight teeth and reduce the need for orthodontics like braces later on, then correct these behaviors as quickly as possible.
It’s important to consider the reasons why teeth come in crooked to fully understand the cause and be better educated when talking about options with your dentist or orthodontist.
Crooked Teeth Problems
- Overcrowding—If your child has a small jaw there may not be enough room for adult teeth to come in resulting in shifting of teeth to accommodate the new adult teeth.
- Poor hygiene from overcrowding—Overcrowding can make it difficult to maintain a healthy mouth since it’s hard to properly clean all teeth.
- Jaw and teeth misalignment—Your child may have a crossbite or overbite which causes teeth to come in crooked.
- Airway restriction—Your child may have a restricted ability to properly breathe through their nose. Continuous mouth breathing is caused by a too narrow or too deep upper jaw.
- Crooked teeth can cause kids to feel self-conscious during already angsty adolescence which results in less laughing, talking or engaging.
Have you ever wondered why a child who still has his or her baby teeth would get braces? Orthodontic appliances can widen the jaw so the teeth have enough room to fit comfortably and straight within the mouth. Your child can start orthodontics at age 6 or 7 using appliances like palatal expanders to help make room and shape the jaw. It’s easier to reshape the mouth at this age which helps to create the space needed for more adult teeth as they erupt. Children who need full braces once all adult teeth have come in at about age 12 find they spend less time in braces if they had orthodontic prep work done.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. Your orthodontist will assess the development of your child’s growing teeth and jaw to determine if any early intervention is needed. When you choose Pediatric Dental Specialists as your pediatric dental home, your child has all the space they need to grow here. We can care for all of their dental and orthodontic needs from their first baby visit to the time they graduate. Parents choose us because we make life easy—you know you’re getting the best care for your child and all of their needs can be accommodated here.
If you have questions about your child’s developing smile or if it’s time to schedule their first visit, contact us today!
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