Oral problems don’t discriminate between anyone and strike adults and children alike. If you have kids under the age of 10, you must keep an eye on their oral health. Detecting early warning signs can determine if they need braces or not. Since the ideal age for braces is between 9 and 14, early detection would do your child a lot of good. This is the time when they would have lost their baby teeth and their permanent teeth would still be growing, thus helping achieve faster results when braces are used.
Here are a few warning signs you must look out for.
Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
Typically, kids start losing their baby teeth around the age of 6, with the last of the baby teeth falling out at around 12 years old. If they lose their baby teeth earlier than the permanent teeth could come in, the growth and development of permanent teeth would be affected. If you notice the child’s teeth falling out earlier than 6 years or later than 12 years, you should consult a dentist immediately.
Breathing Through the Mouth
When your child breathes through the mouth, it indicates that the mouth is too crowded. A crowded mouth affects the nasal passage, causing the kids to breathe through the mouth instead of the nose. This causes their tongue to rest on the bottom of their mouth. When they breathe through the nose, the tongue will press against the roof of the mouth, encouraging the palate to grow and widen. Mouth breathing needs to be treated separately and the crowding issue is often fixed by a palate extension.
It is natural for the kids to suck their thumbs as they find it soothing. However, if they do it beyond their toddler years, it can harm the growth of their teeth. Thumb sucking causes the upper front teeth to be pushed out which results in an open bite. It may even cause the lower jaw to develop abnormally. It is alright for children to suck their thumbs or pacifiers till the age of two but you need to help them break the habit once their baby teeth come out.
Protruding Jaw or Teeth
Protruding teeth cause numerous health problems and safety concerns apart from kids having a self-esteem issue. They lead to painful biting of the roof of the mouth and cause gum recession and tooth damage. When a child is young and growing, the pediatric orthodontist can use the child’s natural growth to help fix the bite. If you miss the early signs, the treatment would be more aggressive, which may include extraction of permanent teeth or jaw surgery.
Crooked teeth affect the physical appearance of the child. But apart from that, crooked teeth affect the overall health as well as it gets difficult to brush and floss, increasing the germs and plaque in the teeth. The dentist can help fix crooked teeth by putting braces.
Difficulty in Eating
If you notice that the kid is having a hard time finishing a meal or that he chews food in an awkward manner, the reason could be improperly aligned jaws. When the jaws are not aligned properly, it makes it hard for their bottom and top teeth to bite down.
Difficulty in Speech
If the child is having trouble saying certain words or is facing speech difficulties, it indicates that the teeth may not be properly aligned. In order to form proper, complete sentences and pronounce words, it is necessary to have properly aligned jaws and teeth.
If you see any of these signs, take your child to a dentist immediately and get them fixed with braces if it is the recommended orthodontic treatment.