In a perfect world, everyone would have a straight, well-aligned smile. However, most children and adults in Brisbane have or had crooked teeth to some degree. There are two reasons people do not favour crooked teeth. The first is based purely on aesthetics, society believes straight teeth are more attractive. Secondly, is the functional side of the mouth. Crooked, misaligned teeth often mean that the teeth and jaw cannot work optimally. To prevent your children from developing crooked teeth and to stop your smile becoming misaligned, here is Proactive Dental’s top 3 tips to prevent crooked teeth in children and adults.
Preventing crooked teeth in children
Tip 1: Your child thumb-sucking
Children suck their thumb as a comforting, security tool. It is completely normal and most children stop themselves from thumb-sucking between the ages of 2 and 4. However, encouraging them to stop before turning four will be beneficial for their teeth. If they suck vigorously on their thumb, it may be damaging their front teeth and roof of their mouth. If they are still between the ages of two and four, you should subtly try to stop the thumb-sucking. The best thing you can do is pre-empt thumb-sucking with other activities. Firstly, figure out when your child tends to suck their thumb, are they hungry, bored, tired or frustrated? Then when they are about to get into that mood you can substitute in something else. For example, if your child sucks their thumb when bored, give them an engaging toy to play with.
If you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking, whether it is their age or their intensity of habit; a trip to your family doctor would provide some guidance for your specific situation.
Tip 2: Encourage healthy hygiene habits
A leading cause of crooked teeth in children is thought to be poor dental hygiene. If your child suffers from gum disease then their dormant adult teeth can start to be affected. If children have healthy gums then they are far more likely to develop healthy adult teeth. To give your child the best chance at healthy adult teeth, starting a dental hygiene regiment early is important.
This means that they brush their teeth even whilst their baby teeth are developing and before their adult teeth come in. Children love mimicking their parents, so have them brush their teeth at the same time you brush yours. Help them to develop good technique and really get them into a healthy dental routine. Also, get your child used to the dentist, read about when your child should first visit the dentist.
Tip 3: Prevent missing teeth
If your child loses a baby tooth early due to an accident or decay, then the surrounding teeth can start to space out and grow into the empty spot. This will cause issues when the adult tooth tries to come through into a spot where there is limited space. If your child does lose a tooth early on, make an appointment with us so we can assess the surrounding teeth for signs of collateral damage or a disposition to lean into the gap.
Preventing crooked teeth in adults
You may have had braces as a teenager, or adult, to straighten out your smile, however, your teeth can still become crooked later. Here are habits you need to stop doing that could be damaging your straight smile.
Tip 1: Sleeping on your stomach
When you lay on your stomach, with your head to one side, there is a subtle pressure placed on your mouth. If sleeping your stomach is your preferred sleeping position, then this nightly pressure becomes repetitive. Unfortunately, subtle, repetitive pressure is proven to be a cause of moving teeth (after all this is the process involved with braces). The pressure on your jaw from sleeping on your stomach over time can cause your teeth to shift out of place and may lead to crowded or inward overlapping teeth. If you frequently rest your head on your arm whilst in your stomach sleeping position, then this is added pressure and will accelerate any teeth movement. To avoid the gradual teeth movement caused by sleeping on your stomach, just try substituting some different sleeping positions. Try to get in the habit of sleeping in a couple different ways.
Tip 2: Missing Teeth
Over time, teeth can still move into spaces. If an adult tooth is missing and there is a gap, there is a good chance the neighbouring and opposing teeth will move into it. This can create unwanted tooth movement and bit problems. Fortunately, there are options available to replace a missing tooth. This may involve implants, crown/bridge-work, dentures or a mixture of different modalities. A good consult with one of our friendly dentists will help give the best option for you.
Tip 3: Your subtle oral fixations
If you always have a pen in your mouth when working, use an excessive amount of toothpicks, have a habit of biting your finger nails, or are constantly blowing chewing gum bubbles, then you may have an oral fixation. Constantly having something in your mouth causes an outward pressure, which can lead to teeth misalignment.
Hopefully, you have taken away some points on how to keep your smile straight and to help prevent your child from developing getting crooked teeth. If you have any questions regarding the prevention of crooked teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Brisbane staff on (07) 5433 1569.