Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Child’s Smile

February is National Children’s Dental Health month and to celebrate its importance we’d like to share valuable information to ensure your child has a healthy smile! Did you know children should visit an orthodontist by age seven? According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), visiting an orthodontist around age seven will allow for potential orthodontic complications to be diagnosed and corrected before they become more severe. It also will allow their oral development to be monitored throughout their growth. Waiting until all your child’s permanent teeth have come in (around age 12-13) before visiting an orthodontist can result in more complicated treatment and often a less favorable outcome. Early treatment and monitoring can attribute to corrections being made without surgery and avoid future tooth extraction of adult teeth. At Bubon Orthodontics, all consultations and pretreatment records are complimentary along with all follow-up and monitoring evaluations. There is absolutely no cost to you until active treatment begins, and we even offer flexible, interest-free in-house payment plans when it does!

Not every child will need orthodontic treatment, however early treatment (also known as early intervention or interceptive treatment) can address a variety of concerns such as improving negative oral habits, guiding jaw growth, alignment of permanent teeth, expanding narrow arches to improve overcrowding or cross bites along with reducing risk of tooth damage. This can allow for improving the overall bite, facial profile and how lips meet in addition to enhancing appearance, confidence and self-esteem. Even though age seven is the recommended age for an initial exam, orthodontic treatment can begin earlier if recommended by your child’s general dentist. Children should see a general dentist as early as age one, or within six months of your child’s first tooth erupting, according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). General dentists and orthodontists work together to meet your child’s needs and improve their overall oral health, but they’ll need help from mom and dad too! Ensuring your child has a healthy smile is a team effort and we encourage parents to be on the lookout for any signs that could indicate probable treatment. Some things to look for include early or late loss of baby teeth, crowded or blocked teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, mouth breathing, thumb or finger sucking, jaws that shift or make sounds, and speech problems. If you detect any of these concerns in your child, it may be time to visit the orthodontist!

Practicing good oral hygiene at home by helping or reminding your kids to brush their teeth two times a day and flossing daily is incredibly important. Brushing keeps their gums and teeth healthy and clean, while flossing takes care of the gums and bone support for the teeth. Mouth rinses are also important, as it takes care of anything that’s missed when brushing or flossing and can aide in preventing cavities. Nutrition is another important key to ensure a healthy smile. Maintaining a proper balance of healthy foods will reduce your child’s risk of cavities and infection along with increasing water intake throughout the day as that helps rid any bacteria or food build-up in their mouth.

While February is a great time to bring awareness to the importance of children’s dental health, protecting their smiles is a year-round effort. It starts at home but continues with the help of dentists and orthodontists. We’re all in this together and with collaborative care we can guarantee your child has a healthy and confident smile they can be proud of for the rest of their life!