How To Prevent Orthodontic Problems In Children

As parents, one of our biggest wishes is for our children to grow up healthy and happy, including having a healthy smile. At Freedman & Haas Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve just that. Knowing how to prevent orthodontic problems in children can help set the foundation for a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. By understanding what orthodontic issues are and embracing early preventive measures, we can prevent malocclusion (teeth and jaw misalignment) and guide your child toward optimal dental health. 

What Are Orthodontic Issues?

Orthodontic problems in children can range from simple to complex, encompassing issues like overcrowding of teeth, misaligned jaws, underbites, and overbites. These problems are more than just a matter of looks—they can make it tough for your kid to chew properly, keep their teeth clean, and even talk clearly. Early signs might include complaints of pain or difficulty biting and chewing during mealtimes, frequent choking, mouth breathing, frequent oral health issues, and speech impediments. Over time, untreated orthodontic problems can lead to more serious health issues, including uneven wear of tooth surfaces and, in severe cases, jaw joint dysfunction. 

Fortunately, you can minimize your child’s risk of misalignments and malocclusions. Let’s find out how.

1. Early Assessments & Intervention

One of the best ways to reduce your child’s chances of developing orthodontic concerns is to enlist the help of a board-certified orthodontist early, around age seven. Before you go and say that it’s too early, we promise it’s not! That’s the age the American Association of Orthodontists suggests because it’s the ideal time for spotting malocclusions—orthodontists like Dr. Freedman and Dr. Haas can see and prevent potential issues and, because children’s bones are still developing, childhood treatment is usually much easier, cheaper, and more comfortable than for adults. 

At Freedman & Haas Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on being a family-friendly orthodontic practice. We understand that many kids might not want to see an orthodontist, and we try to make it as fun and nonintimidating as possible. Our playful, oceanic theme at our West Palm Beach location and the fun colors of our Wellington office are not where the fun stops. The whole team strives to make sure all of our patients, regardless of age, enjoy their appointments. We want everyone to look forward to coming in to see us. Not only does it make your day and your child’s appointment smoother, but it also helps engage and motivate them in the process, bettering their overall results and allowing them to feel enthusiastic about the whole experience.

2. Encouraging Good Habits At Home

Starting a few good habits early can play a huge role in preventing malocclusions as your child grows. It’s all about setting up routines that keep their teeth and jaws in tip-top shape. 

  • Dental Hygiene: Get your child into the routine of brushing and flossing twice a day. A good, consistent oral hygiene routine will keep the gums and teeth healthy and help prevent premature tooth loss, which can cause misalignment by literally giving the teeth room to move around.
  • Promote Healthy Biting Habits: Keep an eye out for your child chomping on hard objects like pens or ice. This can put too much pressure on their teeth, potentially cracking them or causing them to move out of line. It’s like pressing on a wobbly fence post—it might just lean over more.
  • Avoid Prolonged Thumb Sucking: If thumb or pacifier sucking goes on too long, it can really misshape your child’s teeth and jaw alignment. The constant pressure of the thumb in the mouth can cause the upper arch to narrow, misaligning the bite and leading to an open bite, where front teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed.

Following these simple, easy-to-incorporate guidelines does more than help children avoid malocclusions—it also gives your child the best start for a lifetime of a healthy, confident smile. Remember, a little effort now can lead to big rewards later!

How To Prevent Orthodontic Problems In Children

3. Mouthguards Are Part Of The Uniform—Even If It’s Not

If your kid is a bundle of energy, always darting from one activity to another—be it soccer, basketball, or just a playful chase—you’ve got to make sure their smile is protected. Active kids face a higher risk of bumps and knocks that could jostle their teeth or cause injuries. A key piece of their gear should be a mouthguard. These handy protectors are a teeth-saver during sports, helping to cushion any blows to the face and distribute the impact away from teeth and jaws. We always recommend them, even if they’re not on the necessary supplies list or considered a requirement of the league or sport.

4. Encourage Wearing A Helmet

When shopping for mouthguards, don’t forget about helmets, especially when your child is biking, skating, or engaging in any wheel-based activities. Helmets protect the head and help shield the jaw and mouth from impacts. They are a top priority for any activity that involves speed and stunts, especially if you want to minimize the possibility of injury that could cause malocclusions.

5. Keep Your Child Safe & Healthy With The Dentist

Alongside gearing up with protective equipment, another essential step in preventing orthodontic problems is maintaining regular visits to the dentist. Professional dental cleanings help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy to avoid cavities, gum disease, and infections that can have a negative impact on their alignments.

A dentist can also spot early signs of tooth damage or misalignment that might not yet be causing symptoms or visible to the untrained eye, allowing ample time for timely intervention. 

How To Prevent Orthodontic Problems In Children

There’s No Better Care Than Freedman & Haas Orthodontics

At Freedman & Haas Orthodontics, we believe every person deserves a smile they can be proud of, no matter their age. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing the best orthodontic care possible to children, teens, and adults. We can make perfect smiles a reality by monitoring child development and using tools like Damon braces, Invisalign clear aligners, partial braces, palate expanders, space maintainers, retainers, two-phase treatment, or a mouthguard. Schedule a free consultation for the whole family at Freedman & Haas Orthodontics in West Palm Beach or Wellington today.