4 Ways Braces Can Improve Dental Health for Your Child
Braces: Not Just for a Dazzling Smile
Orthodontic treatment for your child can provide them with a beautiful, straight smile that will fill them with self-confidence. However, that’s far from the only benefit of braces for kids. Along with improving the appearance of your child’s smile, braces improve dental health as well. We’ll delve into some of the key areas of dental health that orthodontics may help to improve and issues they can help to avoid.
1. Crowded teeth contribute to tooth decay.
There are many factors that contribute to tooth decay in children. Their diet, brushing and flossing habits, and grinding can all play a part. Malocclusion, or misaligned teeth, can also contribute to tooth decay and the formation of cavities.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is always present but can grow in larger numbers due to sugar intake, lack of oral hygiene, and other factors. Misaligned teeth contribute to tooth decay by giving bacteria more sheltered nooks and crannies in which to hide.
When teeth are misaligned, they can become crowded, making it impossible to properly brush or floss the areas between them. Bacteria can grow in these areas unrestricted, leading to more rapid tooth decay and more cavities. With braces, it becomes easier to floss between teeth, which makes it hard for bacteria to hide and develop into something more sinister.
Misalignments can often cause bruxism, or grinding, as well. Grinding wears down the surface of the teeth, which means that there’s less enamel protecting the inner layers. Without that protection, tooth decay can quickly reach the inner layers of the tooth and cause more serious dental problems.
2. Malocclusion contributes to gingivitis.
The bacteria responsible for tooth decay also cause another serious dental problem—gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, a condition where bacteria in the mouth infiltrate and infect gum tissue.
Misaligned teeth contribute to gingivitis in the same way they contribute to tooth decay. Being unable to reach protected areas when brushing leads to more bacteria, which increases the risk of gum disease—straighter teeth are easier to clean between and less likely to develop gingivitis.
As plaque and tartar deposits form in these areas, they further increase that risk. Visiting a kids’ dentist near Vancouver, WA, for a routine cleaning can help, but it will be much more effective with straight teeth.
When gum disease progresses, it causes pockets to open between the gumline and the teeth. These pockets provide even more shelter for bacteria, accelerating the disease. Gingivitis and gum disease are always best addressed as early as possible, and that may mean considering braces for kids or other orthodontic interventions.
3. Bite issues contribute to jaw pain.
Braces for kids and other orthodontic treatment options aren’t just about aligning teeth—they also play an important role in jaw development. Jaw malformation can occur in children as they develop and lead to a variety of speech, diet, and breathing issues. Orthodontic treatment can correct these problems.
Tooth misalignment can also lead to jaw pain in several ways. A bad bite, whether an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or another type, can put a continuous strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This can lead to muscle inflammation and damage to the joint, contributing to both occasional and chronic jaw pain.
The grinding that is commonly encountered with misalignments also puts strain on the jaw and can result in TMJ disorders and pain as well. Correcting the misalignment can stop grinding and allow the upper and lower arches of teeth to sit together properly.
4. A misaligned jaw can contribute to tooth damage.
If your child has untreated orthodontic issues, you could find yourself visiting a kids’ dentist near Vancouver, WA, to deal with chips, cracks, and other types of physical damage. These issues are much more likely to develop when teeth are misaligned.
When the upper and lower arches of teeth don’t sit together properly, individual teeth may bear much more force when the mouth is closed. The points of these teeth can impact opposite teeth, leading to wear over time and possible sudden damage.
Physical damage to teeth is common in children in any case, as impacts during play or sports can easily lead to chips and cracks. A misalignment makes this outcome much more likely, as the force from any impact isn’t distributed across the entire arch of teeth.
Grinding also contributes to this issue, wearing away enamel and weakening teeth overall. Braces for kids can correct the misalignment that leads to wear, chips, and cracks.
Your child will be much less likely to develop these types of injuries and require emergency dental care in the future if they have the orthodontic treatment they need today.
Orthodontic Evaluation by Your Kids’ Dentist in Vancouver, WA
Do you want to ensure that your child has the best foundation for dental health? Your children’s dentist near Vancouver, WA, can provide an orthodontic evaluation to determine whether braces or other interventions could be needed to keep your child’s smile healthy. Contact Must Love Kids to request an appointment today.