Although dental problems might become more of an issue when you’re older, it’s important to know that children can also be impacted by oral health ailments. By being aware of the risks, you can take steps to help your kids maintain strong teeth and gums. read more
Children’s Dental Health Articles
In the same way that dental problems can affect other aspects of your health as an adult, if your child’s mouth isn’t healthy, it can have an adverse effect on their well-being. Below are some of the many reasons why it’s wise to take steps to keep your little one’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape. How Poor Dental Health Can Affect Kids According to the CDC, many children and adolescents have at least one decayed tooth that’s untreated. Not good! What’s worse is that, when dental problems go untreated, a child may face a range of difficulties, such as the following: 1. Pain, Discomfort, and Trouble Chewing Food If you’ve ever had a cavity that you didn’t treat in time, you know how painful it can become. Plus, cavities that aren’t filled might lead to infections that create even more discomfort. Ouch! Also, when a child has one or more cavities, or when teeth are damaged because they’re chipped or fractured, the discomfort and pain may lead to trouble chewing food. This might result in a change in what the child can and can’t eat, and it might cause them to miss out on important nutrients that are necessary for proper development and growth. Keep in mind, too, that pain caused by tooth decay might inhibit children from enjoying everyday activities. And it might even get in the way of their ability to sleep because the discomfort keeps them awake at night. 2. A Decrease in School Attendance and Performance Another serious effect of poor dental health in kids is a decrease in their performance at school. Think about it: if your little one is experiencing oral pain that doesn’t go away, they’re bound to become distracted by it, to the point that they can’t fully concentrate on their schoolwork and homework. Oral pain can be a reason for missing school as well. In other words, in addition to being at a greater risk of performing poorly in school, kids with dental problems might also be more likely to stay home from school because of their symptoms. And, on top of having an impact on test scores and grades, this also causes kids to miss out on important lessons, so it may affect their future performance too. 3. Low Self-Esteem and Embarrassment Poor oral health can do more than cause physical pain. When children have unhealthy teeth and gums, or when they’re missing teeth, they may be embarrassed by their smile, and they might even be bullied. This might result in depression, shyness, or withdrawal from others. In addition to decay, tooth injuries that aren’t treated professionally might also cause negative effects on self-esteem because of the embarrassment that comes with an imperfect smile and damaged teeth. 4. Negative Impacts on a Child’s Development As discussed above, poor dental health is capable of adversely affecting a child’s development in more ways than one. Here are some other examples: If a young child experiences tooth loss too soon, the development of their speech might suffer as a result. If a child misses too much school because of dental problems, their ability to learn may be affected. If a child isn’t able to chew properly and can’t enjoy eating a variety of foods, nutritional imbalances might affect their cognitive and physical development. Steps You Can Take to Support Your Child’s Oral Health Beyond being a physical problem, poor dental health is something that can also impact children on an emotional and social level. Therefore, taking preventive measures is smart. A good place to start is by showing your children how to take amazing care of their teeth and gums at home. This includes brushing, flossing, drinking water, and eating right. You can also make sure your kids wear a mouthguard when playing sports, as doing so may reduce the risk of injuries. And, of course, taking your child to the dentist regularly is a great way to help ensure your little one’s mouth can remain healthy while developing properly. Dental Insurance for Kids Can Be a Worthwhile Investment! Don’t have dental insurance yet? It’s time to consider it! Families who have a dental plan that helps cover the cost of care are more likely to make those important trips to the dentist. This means their kids can get the check-ups, cleanings, and treatments, from sealants to fillings, that can help keep teeth and gums strong. At Spirit Dental, you’ll find affordable plans that can help cover the cost of preventive care, basic and major services, and orthodontics! So, now that you’re aware of the risks associated with poor dental health early in life, you can take a big step toward making sure your little one won’t have to go through any of that hardship. Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2019/05/10/research-update-a-spotlight-on-childrens-oral-health/ https://www.dentistjustforkids.com/how-oral-health-affects-overall-health/ https://misuse.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/error/abuse.shtml https://www.mchoralhealth.org/PDFs/learningfactsheet.pdf
What is the connection between orthodontics and sleeping problems, particularly in children? Well, in some cases, orthodontic appliances can be used to treat the cause of a child’s sleep troubles. It’s true! Check out the information below to see what we mean. Has Your Child Been Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea? If sleep apnea is the cause of your child’s inability to get a restful night’s sleep, it’s important to search for solutions. And it turns out that one of the treatment options you can consider is orthodontics. Of course, this will depend on what is causing the sleep apnea, and how severe it is. But if the culprit is a problem with the dental arch or the alignment of the teeth or jaw, the right orthodontic care might make a difference. Who knew, right? Here’s an example: if your child’s mouth is still developing, and he or she has been diagnosed with a palate that is too narrow, an orthodontist might recommend a palatal expander. This is designed to widen the palate and help boost the amount of airflow to make it easier for your little one to breathe properly while asleep. On the other hand, if your child’s mouth is no longer growing, orthodontic appliances, such as a mandibular advancement splint, might be able to properly position his or her jaw while asleep, thereby helping to improve the way your son or daughter breathes. Talk to an orthodontist to figure out if this is a path that you can take to help your child get some much-needed relief when dealing with sleep apnea. With the right strategy, you might even be able to correct problems so that your child won’t have to deal with sleep apnea anymore. Other Ways That Orthodontics Might Be Able to Help In addition to sleep apnea, there are other issues that may arise while your child sleeps, and orthodontics might be a possible solution to those as well. Here are some examples: If your little one clenches and grinds their teeth at night (this is known as bruxism), a dental professional might recommend a night guard to protect those pearly whites. If your son or daughter breathes more through the mouth than the nose, it might be difficult to sleep well at night. When the cause is something like a misalignment of the bite, teeth, or jaw, orthodontics might be the right solution. If your child is diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMD or TMJ), and it’s caused by a problem with his or her bite, the right orthodontic care may help. Worried About Affording Orthodontics? Consider Dental Insurance! If you don’t already have dental insurance that covers orthodontics for kids, don’t worry! There are plenty of options available, such as those offered by Spirit Dental & Vision. You can search for a plan that will provide you with the coverage you need to afford pricey treatments more easily, and you might be surprised by how affordable the insurance itself can be. That way, if your child ever needs orthodontics for any reason, you can focus more on ensuring your little one will get the necessary treatment to reap the benefits of a healthy smile and healthy sleep.
When you take your little one to the dentist for the first time, you’ll probably be asked some questions about your son or daughter. You might talk about topics like your child’s eating habits and pacifier use, as well as whether or not you’ve noticed any thumbsucking. And the dentist may also inquire about your family’s oral hygiene routine, if your child is exhibiting any teething symptoms, and more. But, in addition to answering questions, this is also your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about oral care for kids. What are some of the questions that you should consider asking during your child’s first dental appointment? Well, the simple answer is: whatever you want! But if you’re stumped about where to begin, check out the info below to get started. Questions About How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth at Home In between dental appointments, it will be up to you to help keep your kid’s chompers in tip-top shape. So, at this first dental appointment, you can ask questions that will guide you towards providing the best care possible. Questions might include: When should I start brushing my little one’s teeth, and how do I go about doing so correctly? How often should I brush my child’s teeth? Should I floss my child’s teeth as well? If so, how do I do it correctly? What type of toothbrush is best for kids? What type of toothpaste is recommended for kids? Is fluoride toothpaste safe? And how much toothpaste should I use? Is it important to prevent cavities in baby teeth, since they’re going to be replaced anyway? How do I prevent cavities from developing in my child’s baby teeth? What is bottle rot, and should I be concerned? What are the best foods and drinks to help keep kids’ teeth healthy? What should I do if my child develops a toothache, bleeding gums, or other symptoms? Questions About the Growth of Your Child’s Mouth Being aware of what to expect when it comes to teething and the development of your child’s mouth is also important. So, you can ask questions like: What can I expect when my child is teething? Which teeth will come in first? What remedies do you recommend when teething symptoms arise? Will thumbsucking or the use of a pacifier affect the way my child’s mouth develops? How can I stop my kid from sucking his or her thumb? Will there be enough space for all of the teeth to grow in properly? Is my child’s bite properly aligned? Do you think my kid will need orthodontics? Questions About Professional Dental Care for Your Child Other great questions to ask include those that will help you become familiar with what to expect when you take your child to the dentist. Here are some examples: What will you do during check-ups? Are dental X-rays safe for children? What types of X-rays do you use? When will X-rays be taken, and how many will be taken? Do you recommend treatments, such as sealants, to help prevent cavities? What steps will you take to help keep my child calm? Do you offer sedation for kids when they need treatment? What should I do during a dental emergency, such as if a tooth is damaged or knocked out? Use Insurance to Make It Easier to Afford Your Child’s Dental Appointments Like adults, it’s best for kids to see the dentist often. After the first visit, which can be around your little one’s first birthday or when the first tooth starts growing in, the dentist might recommend bringing your child in for a check-up on a regular basis, such as every six months. This can help you be sure that your child’s mouth is developing and growing in a healthy way. Worried about being able to afford all of those appointments? A smart strategy might be to buy dental insurance that will cover your entire family! At Spirit Dental, you can find family plans that are affordable and can help you save money, taking the pressure off your wallet when it’s time for your child’s appointments. Ask Questions, Learn, and Gain Confidence as a Parent! Now that you have a better idea of some of the questions that you can ask during your child’s first dentist appointment, you can use the visit as an opportunity to learn more about what you can do to help keep your kid’s mouth as healthy as possible! Sources: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/childs-first-dental-visit#1 https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/dental-visits/how-often-should-you-go-to-the-dentist-a-dental-visit-plan-for-your-child https://alangoldendds.com/top-10-questions-to-ask-your-childs-dentist/ https://www.evansondds.com/10-questions-to-ask-your-pediatric-dentist/ https://alangoldendds.com/questions-parents-ask-pediatric-dentists/ https://thedentalexpress.com/dental-blog/parents-ask-your-childs-dentist https://www.romper.com/p/14-questions-to-ask-the-pediatric-dentist-at-the-first-visit-19199835
You already know that there are toothbrushes made especially for children. But how can you be sure that you’ll select the right one? Well, there are several features that you can look for, and you can also take your child’s age into consideration while you shop. Continue reading to learn about how to select the best toothbrushes for kids. And remember: if you aren’t sure about which direction to take, just consult with your child’s dentist to get the personalized answers you need. A Few General Tips to Get Started As you shop for a toothbrush for your child, keep the following in mind: Check the size of the brush head. Generally, brush heads that are anywhere from ½” to 1” in length are considered a good way to go. The younger your child, the smaller the brush head should be. Basically, you want the bristles to reach the chompers in the back of the mouth, and you also want the brush to clean every surface of every tooth, all while being comfortable. It’s a good idea to stick with brushes that feature soft bristles. Harder bristles might affect your little one’s gums and enamel, potentially leading to damage or irritation, especially if your child brushes with too much force. Don’t worry, the soft bristles will get the job done when it comes to cleaning teeth and gums! Look for a toothbrush with a handle that’s designed to be comfortable and easy for kids to hold while they learn to brush their teeth. Younger children might have trouble holding a slimmer handle, so sticking with brushes with thicker handles may be helpful. You can also search for a colorful toothbrush that’s designed to get kids excited for daily brushing sessions. After all, it can be tough to motivate children to brush their teeth every morning and every night! Choose from fun designs that showcase popular characters, such as cartoons or superheroes. You might be surprised by how well this simple strategy works when it comes to encouraging little kids to brush regularly! Note: It might take a little trial and error to find a toothbrush that’s just right for your child, so don’t get discouraged. The goal is to find one that works well, but it should also be one that your child will gladly use. Keep Your Child’s Age in Mind Should you take a kid’s age into consideration when shopping for a toothbrush? Yes! For a toddler, it’s a good idea to go with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush that has a thick handle and a petite brush head. If the grip is soft and comfortable, it can help make it easier for your little one to hold and control the toothbrush. Once your child is around 4 or 5 years old, it might be easier for them to hold a brush that has a thinner handle. And once your child is around 8 years old, they might be ready to graduate to a toothbrush that’s a bit larger but still appropriately sized for kids. Should You Go with Manual or Electric Toothbrushes? Just as there are manual and electric brushes for adults, there are electric options for children as well. Some parents might opt to give their kids an electric toothbrush when they’re a little older, such as 7 years old, while other parents might decide to start using one when their child is just 3 years old. You might want to go with an electric toothbrush if your child gets more excited by a product that’s high-tech and simple to use. Some kids, however, might prefer a manual brush instead of a noisy electric product. It’s all about working with your little ones to figure out what they prefer! When shopping for an electric toothbrush for kids, the same basic rules apply. Look for a small brush head, soft bristles, and a cushioned handle that is easy for your child to hold. Fun designs, colors, and characters can help motivate your kids to brush twice daily. Plus, some electric brushes might have extra features, such as a timer and interactive app, that can help make brushing even more fun. Note: If your child has braces, an electric brush might make it easier to keep their pearly whites clean. Daily Brushing and Dental Appointments Help Maintain Your Child’s Oral Health Once you’ve found a high-quality toothbrush that your kid wants to use, it’s simply a matter of making sure they brush twice a day. And don’t forget to make appointments with a dentist you trust. That way, your child’s mouth can be examined and professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Take your time when shopping for a toothbrush for your son or daughter. Selecting the right brush can help make it easier to instill healthy oral hygiene habits in kids, and it will also help you rest assured that those tiny chompers are being cleaned properly every day. Sources: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/selecting-dental-products/kids-toothbrushes-what-to-buy-for-your-child https://www.chemistdirect.co.uk/oral-b-toothbrush-shapes-and-sizes https://www.patientconnect365.com/dentalhealthtopics/article/Three_Tips_for_Buying_the_Right_Toothbrush_for_Your_Kids https://www.salafamilydentistry.com/choosing-right-toothbrush-child/ https://www.funtasticdental.com/kids-dental-care-choosing-right-toothbrush/ https://askthedentist.com/best-electric-toothbrush-kids/ https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/kids/finding-best-electric-toothbrush-kids/
Have you heard of the term “malocclusion,” but you aren’t sure what it is? Perhaps your dentist has diagnosed you or your child with this problem, and you want to learn more about it. To help you out, we’ve outlined what malocclusion is, and what you can do to treat it. What Is Malocclusion? Malocclusion basically means your teeth aren’t aligned properly because of a problem with your bite, which is how the lower and upper teeth fit together when you close your mouth. Even though most people won’t have a bite that’s absolutely perfect, a normal bite will allow the upper front teeth to rest a little beyond the lower chompers, and the top molars will fit into the grooves of the lower molars. What’s the big deal if the teeth don’t line up right? Well, when your bite isn’t aligned correctly, your pearly whites can be affected, causing them to protrude or grow in crooked. In that case, you might not be satisfied with the way your smile looks. Beyond that, however, malocclusion might also result in tooth damage and tooth loss. And in severe cases, this type of misalignment might even make it hard to speak or chew. Now that’s serious! There are different types of malocclusion: Overbite – This is when the front upper teeth end up overlapping the lower teeth to an excessive degree when the mouth is closed. Underbite – This is when the lower teeth and jaw protrude past the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Crossbite – This is when some of the upper teeth rest normally, while others rest inside the lower teeth when your mouth is closed. Open bite – This is when the lower and upper teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed. Causes of malocclusion include: If you’ve been diagnosed with malocclusion, and there are other people in your family who have it as well, you might have inherited it. If there is a problem with the size or shape of your jaw, your teeth may not grow in properly. For example, if your jaw is too small, your chompers might be crowded and crooked. If you’ve had dental work done, such as a filling or crown, but it doesn’t fit properly, you might develop malocclusion. If a child develops bad habits, such as sucking their thumb or using a pacifier for too long, the teeth might be pushed out of alignment. Other causes include injuries to the jaw, birth defects like cleft lip and palate, impacted teeth, abnormally shaped teeth, or tumors in the jaw or mouth. What Are the Treatments for Malocclusion? When malocclusion is minor, treatment to correct it might not be necessary. That’s good news! In cases when treatment is necessary, orthodontics, such as braces or Invisalign, may be recommended for both kids and adults. Before using braces or aligners, some teeth might need to be extracted, particularly when there’s a problem with overcrowded chompers. Children with malocclusion might also benefit from something known as growth modification. This involves using a device to make the jaw move into the correct position prior to using braces that will shift the teeth and help fix the bite. In severe cases, surgery might be needed to correct problems with the jaw. For example, a surgery might be used to make the jaw shorter or longer. Correcting Malocclusion Can Help You Get a Beautiful Smile! Malocclusion can affect the look of your smile, so it can take a toll on your confidence. Thankfully, there are treatment options available that will help realign your jaw and teeth, so you don’t have to live with this condition. Worried about affording the treatments to fix malocclusion if you or one of your children has been diagnosed with it? Don’t worry, there’s a simple solution! Signing up for a dental plan that covers orthodontics can help you save a lot of money, and allow you to get the high-quality care that you deserve. Whether or not you’re experiencing any symptoms of malocclusion, your dentist can determine if you have it by examining your mouth. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to take your kids to the dentist, and why you should continue seeing the dentist regularly as an adult too. Once again, having the right dental insurance can help you get the care you need, and the lovely smile you desire, without breaking the bank. Sources: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mouth-and-dental-disorders/symptoms-of-oral-and-dental-disorders/malocclusion https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/adult-orthodontics/malocclusion https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tn1000 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001058.htm https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-health-glossary https://www.invisalign.com/treatable-cases/crossbite https://www.invisalign.com/treatable-cases/open-bite https://www.healthline.com/health/malocclusion-of-teeth
When you think of orthodontics, if you’re like most people, images of braces and modern invisible aligners, like Invisalign, come to mind. But beyond straightening your teeth to give you a beautiful, perfect smile, orthodontics can also provide a host of health benefits. Teeth That Are Aligned Are Easier to Keep Clean and Healthy Did you know that, when your teeth are aligned, they are easier to clean with brushing and flossing? It’s true! How’s that possible? Well, plaque can have more places to hide when your teeth aren’t straight. And because of misalignment, your toothbrush may not be able to reach the surfaces of all of your chompers to clean them thoroughly. So, if you hope to reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease, and your teeth aren’t as straight as they should be, it’s worth having a consultation with an orthodontist. Side note: Reducing the odds of developing tooth decay and gum problems can help you also reduce the amount of money that you’d need to spend at the dentist. Fewer cavities means fewer fillings, which can certainly add up! A Properly Aligned Bite and Jaw Makes a Big Difference If the upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly when you close your jaw, you likely have what’s known as malocclusion. And there are different forms of malocclusion, such as an overbite or an underbite. When the jaw and the bite aren’t aligned, a variety of problems may develop, such as: Excessive wear and tear of the teeth, along with a greater risk of chipping or injuring a tooth Deterioration of the bones supporting your pearly whites Teeth grinding Temporomandibular joint disorder (known as TMD or TMJ) Difficulty biting and chewing food Difficulty speaking properly Headaches, migraines, sinus problems, and sleep problems like sleep apnea Increased strain on the muscles and joints of the jaw, which might even lead to neck and shoulder tension That’s a lot. Who knew an improperly aligned jaw could have such an impact on your health?! Extra perk: If you have too much space between your teeth, an orthodontist might recommend using braces or aligners to close those gaps. This might help eliminate the need for other remedies, such as dental implants or bridges, to get rid of the gaps. A Straight Smile Gives You More Confidence In addition to all of the various physical benefits that come with orthodontics, there are also plenty of ways that a straight smile can help you mentally and emotionally as well. For a lot of people, having a perfect smile provides a huge boost to their self-esteem. If you are the type of person who is reluctant to smile wide when taking photos, or you are embarrassed when you open your mouth to laugh, braces might be exactly what you need to overcome these difficulties and gain the confidence that you want. Worried About Affording Orthodontics? Insurance Can Help! As you can see, orthodontic care is about much more than just giving you a smile you’ll be proud to show off. But even if you are ready to take advantage of the many health benefits of orthodontics, you might start to feel a little reluctant when you realize how much this treatment can cost. There’s no denying that orthodontics can be expensive. High-quality braces and invisible aligners typically need to be used over a long stretch of time, and the longer you need braces to work on straightening your teeth and fixing your bite, the pricier the overall treatment can become. But there’s a simple solution. To make orthodontics more affordable for yourself or your kids, enroll in a dental plan, such as one offered by Spirit Dental, that will provide this particular type of coverage. Remember, not all dental policies will cover orthodontics, so you do need to shop with care and read the fine print before signing up to be sure you know what you’re getting. The time and effort will be worth it, though. Once you have this type of insurance, you won’t need to worry about paying for everything out-of-pocket, and that’s a massive help! Sources: https://www.drbibby.com/lasting-benefits-of-orthodontics https://starorthopedo.com/health-benefits-of-orthodontic-treatment/ https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/why-you-should-get-orthodontic-treatment/ https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/why-do-straight-teeth-matter/ https://www.orthodonticslimited.com/orthodontists/9-ways-orthodontist-can-improve-health/