Preventing the Need for Braces

Written by: Sam Ghosh

A mother and daughter smile while brushing teeth

Updated: August 31, 2022

Crooked teeth can be a huge issue, and braces are one of the most popular treatments to remedy the situation. They are constructed of metal wires and are used to rectify an alignment issue.

One of the questions that many parents have is how to keep their child from needing braces. While there is no proven way to prevent teeth from ever becoming crooked, there are a few things you may do to help keep your child’s teeth in line.

Ensure Your Child is Breathing Properly

Did you know that if a child breathes through their mouth regularly that it can cause the teeth to misalign?

Because the tongue must rest inside the mouth against the back of the front teeth, mouth breathing can result in crooked teeth. When a child breathes through their mouth rather than their nose, the tongue is forced downward, putting strain on the teeth. Due to this new tongue location, the jaw and upper teeth form a triangle shape, causing damage over time. Treatment with braces will be required to repair this damage.

Children frequently breathe through their mouths due to nasal polyps and allergies. If you notice this in your child, you can determine the physical source of their improper breathing. The problem can be solved by cleaning out your child’s nasal passages for proper airflow or talking with their pediatrician for remedies.

Don’t Let Your Child Suck Their Thumb

Young children, particularly babies, suck their thumbs to feel secure which comes from the soothing sensation felt as an infant with a pacifier. Stress affects children in the same way that it affects adults. Major life events, such as a family death or divorce, or even moving homes or starting school, can put a child under a lot of stress. Children, unlike adults, adopt coping techniques such as thumb-sucking. However, it can damage their teeth.

You shouldn’t be concerned about thumb sucking until their permanent teeth grow in. However, you should actively direct your child to stop thumb-sucking if they are still doing it around this age. It’s better to console your child now and explain to them the complications rather than to deal with the consequences later. Constant sucking can affect a child’s bone structure and make it difficult to fix, even with braces.

Similarly, pacifiers can have adverse effects on a child’s developing dental and jaw structure. Try to nip sucking habits in the bud before orthodontic treatment is needed.

Bring Your Child to a Pediatric Orthodontist

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, the prime age for a child’s first orthodontist visit is seven years old. This age is ideal for a visit since their teeth and jaw are mature enough for an examination but are still undeveloped enough to make treating jaw and bite issues easy.

There is no need to correct baby teeth, so once their front permanent teeth have completely grown in or if you see considerable crowding, it is usually a solid indication that an appointment should be scheduled. If you have any questions concerning your child’s smile, ask their pediatric dentist for their input and recommendations.

If you encourage your child to maintain good oral health habits and stop bad ones from forming, you can help prevent orthodontic issues from developing. If your child needs to see an orthodontist for their first visit, contact our offices in either Pottsville or Allentown to make an appointment. Dr. Ghosh is a renowned orthodontist who is passionate about the difference early orthodontic treatment can make in a child’s life.

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