As parents, we wish to give our children the most suitable environment to grow and flourish. From their physical wellbeing to their significant mental development, we make every effort to craft their upbringing in the best possible manner. One of the considerations which top our list is their appearance and body structure. We can notice from a very early age if our child develops crooked teeth. Research shows that every three out of four children tend to have misaligned jaws or crooked teeth. And we wish to ensure that our child has a healthy mouth with well-developed straight teeth.
There are two significant reasons why a child may develop crooked teeth – one is genetic inheritance, and the other is lifestyle habits since childhood. Genetics play a significant role in the way a child’s teeth develop. Similarly, a child’s lifestyle habits also determine the structure and development of his jaws.
Here are some things which must be taken care of to help your child develop straight teeth:
- Prevent tooth decay:
Your child’s eating and hygiene habits are very important indicators of their tooth health. You may want to inculcate the habit of brushing your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and pea-sized paste to prevent decay. The prevention of decay helps the child create enough tooth space for the proper development of adult jaws. Also, it’s best to avoid sodas and packaged drinks, stick to milk for your child.
- Limit the use of pacifiers:
Usage of baby pacifiers is a very personal subject and differs from case to case basis. Some children tend to soothe their gums more, while others may not need to as much. Pacifiers may help some children, but they have also been instrumental in tooth decay in certain cases. So be prudent in deciding whether your child needs a pacifier and for how long.
- Discourage thumb-sucking:
Babies have a natural sucking reflex because it helps soothe them. However, a prolonged sucking of the thumb can have a significant impact on their jaw structure. Vigorous sucking of the thumb can lead to crooked or protruding teeth and may need more significant orthodontic intervention. So instead, encourage your child to develop naturally straight teeth by using positive reinforcement and incentives to break off the habit.
- Regular visits to the dentist/orthodontist:
Parents often misconception that a dentist should be seen only when the child develops or complains of a certain issue. That’s not true. It is best advised to take your child to a dentist for their regular check by 7 years. This helps detect the misalignment of jaws or any other problem at an early stage. And if needed, they will recommend you visit an orthodontist who will enable early and timely treatment.
- Keep teeth healthy:
Teeth health and hygiene plays a crucial role in overall mouth health. It helps your child develop a beautiful smile. And there is a lot that can be done for teeth health. Children are in a growing phase. So their bones are still soft, and if we take advantage of molding them at that stage, they can develop naturally straight teeth. Here are a few tips that will help you raise children with naturally straight teeth.
- Practice extended breastfeeding: This process helps your child develop natural swallowing abilities and thus aids in jaw development.
- Practice baby-led weaning and avoid mashed baby food: With mashed food, your child will continue the habit of sucking to the food just as he or she was doing during breastfeeding. This will create an imbalance in their swallowing abilities and large cheek muscles. Introducing small morsels of food and practicing baby-led weaning methods will help your child gradually transition from a breastfeeding-swallow mechanism to a proper food-swallow mechanism.
- Avoid breathing through the mouth: If the nasal passage is unclear, the child may tend to breathe through the mouth. This can cause significant changes to their jaw structure, like hanging jaws.
- Consider myofunctional therapy: If you notice things that your child has food texture sensitivities or a forward bending head thrust, you can consider a timely visit to a myofunctional therapist who can help correct such problems at an early stage.
As a parent, you can play a significant role in helping your child develop naturally straight teeth. However, if your child has developed misaligned jaws or crooked teeth, you can always approach an orthodontic clinic for teeth straightening procedures that will you give your child a beautiful and healthy smile.