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Crooked teeth impact more than just your child’s appearance.  They can also affect your child’s speech, and impact your child’s overall oral health by making it harder to brush and floss. Your family health history plays a role in how teeth develop.  It is important to look for signs early to help improve your child’s chances of having a straighter smile.  Here are four effective habits that help prevent crooked teeth.

Prevent thumb sucking.

Many toddlers naturally suck on their thumbs for comfort.  This is a habit that should be broken as soon as you can encourage them to do so.  Frequent thumb sucking may damage your toddler’s front teeth, gums or roof of the mouth, especially if the habit continues past the age of three.  It will be important to identify when your child is inclined to suck on their thumb, such as when they are hungry, tired or bored.  You will then be able to help wean them off of this habit during these vulnerable times.

Train your children to have good oral health habits.

One of the best ways to impact your child’s teeth into adulthood is to help establish good oral hygiene at an early age.  Children should visit their dentist as soon as their first teeth come through to help your dentist identify any problems early on, and to guide you as your help your child care for their teeth and gums.  You will need to help your child brush their teeth properly in the first few years, and monitor them once they are able to brush on their own (for two minutes twice a day).

Take care of tooth loss right away.

If your child loses a tooth by accident or due to tooth decay, make an appointment right away with your dentist.  A missing tooth may cause your healthy teeth to shift into the gap and lead to crooked teeth.  Encourage your children to always maintain good oral hygiene habits and to wear a mouthguard while playing sports to reduce their chances of losing a tooth.

Catch problems early.

Regular visits to the dentist will go a long way to ensure that your child’s teeth develop properly.  Your dentist will be able to help determine if orthodontic treatments are necessary and whether it is appropriate to begin in childhood. Your child may not need to wear braces too long into the teen years if started early enough to straighten crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.

Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to provide caring dental care for all your family, including children. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can meet your dental care needs.