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Did you know February is National Children's Dental Health Month? This month is dedicated to raising awareness of starting children off with best practices for their dental hygiene, addressing problems, and much more. When kids understand and adopt these good habits at an early age, it helps prevent decay, cavities, and more. Learn more about ways parents can help their children with their dental health and reasons to visit an orthodontist in Broomfield at a young age.
About National Children’s Dental Health Month
Every year, dentists, orthodontists, and families celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA) for 2019, ADA raises awareness to issues, as well as the time and care of dental professionals. When everyone works together, children can live healthier and reduce problematic and costly issues. And on average, students miss more than 50 million hours of school due to dental problems.
To raise awareness that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, there are many different downloadable flyers, guides, and posters for dentists, orthodontists, schools, doctor’s offices, and more.
The very first celebration of National Children’s Dental Month was in 1949. Over time, it grew from a day-long event to a month-long celebration. Then by the early 1980s, it transformed again into a month-long awareness campaign.
One of the primary goals of this awareness month is to promote healthy lifestyles with children and parents. When a child can adopt good habits early, they are already a step ahead. Second, raising awareness can get children to orthodontists earlier to help prevent issues before they start.
The Growth of Teeth in Children
Teeth begin to grow nearly a month after conception and erupt from the gums in babies as young as six-months-old. It tends to start with the front teeth on the top and bottom, then makes their way back. Children will get 20 “baby teeth” that will eventually be replaced by 32 permanent teeth. After a baby is born, their jaw continues to form as well. The experience can be uncomfortable, leading to tears, pain, teething, and more.
Many factors are involved with the growing jaw. When you add in comforting habits, such as thumb-sucking, it can change a healthy growth. Sucking a thumb can lead to:
Overbite, where the front teeth angle out and are not in the normal vertical position
Speech impediments from misaligned teeth
Improper bite as the top teeth and bottom teeth do not touch
Jaw issues due to the movement of the teeth
While parents do not need to tell their child to stop sucking their thumb necessarily, they can help make sure they ween off at a good age. Every child is different, but four-years-old tends to be an advised age to have a child stop sucking their thumb. Not only is this something they do as a habit but can become something they depend on when facing stress, fear, and other intense emotions. It is also vital for parents to learn about the impact of pacifiers and your toddler’s teeth.
Other factors that lead to improper bite or alignment in children include:
Babies that are born premature or underweight
Early Orthodontic Treatment
What many parents do not know their child can see an orthodontist as young as seven-years-old. During this crucial age, a child's jaw and mouth are forming—known as Phase I. A local orthodontist can examine a child’s orthodontic situation to look for issues. Upon finding any, Phase I treatment can be implemented.
The benefit of Phase I treatment is the orthodontist's ability to make changes to a growing jaw. Instead of fixing issues after they occur, they can stop certain items before they even start.
With Phase I treatment, children can have braces on early. This treatment will encourage the jaw and any misaligned tooth to form in its proper position. Benefits of proactive therapy include:
Less pain and issues stemming from malocclusion (crooked) teeth
Valuable savings as specific issues are prevented rather than costly procedures down the road
Braces at a young age do not need to be worn as long, reducing the amount of time required overall
Provide room for all teeth to move into place properly
Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
Phase II Treatment
Braces are typically worn for Phase II treatment when a child is around 11-years-old. In these instances, the molars are starting to come in, and significant changes are almost all in place. From here, actions by your orthodontist are taken to correct a misaligned jaw, malocclusion, spacing, bite issues, and more.
Each child is different, making it vital for parents to work with an orthodontic expert that can find what issues are occurring. When corrected, children can properly brush and care for teeth, reducing cavities, decay and more.
Types of Braces
As children get braces, there are more types available for a comfortable experience. These include:
In-Ovation R: This smaller type of braces has a small bracket without painful bands. These self-litigating brackets help move teeth with less pain.
In-Ovation C: Also a self-litigating type of braces with a translucent bracket, In-Ovation C braces bring a more discreet kind of orthodontic treatment for children and adults.
Invisalign: Teens and adults with malocclusion can take advantage of Invisalign. This clear type of orthodontic care is done by a set of clear aligners.
This National Children’s Dental Health Month, celebrate by scheduling your first visit with Prentice Orthodontics. We specialize in early orthodontic treatment plans as well as Phase II treatments. Your consultation will be with Dr. Ricarda Prentice, who specializes in both children's and adult orthodontic treatment. Her state-of-the-art office has the latest in technology and plans. There are five convenient locations in Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Thornton, and Westminster. So, no matter where you live, you can find an office near you. Don't be afraid during a first visit! Children will receive a thorough consultation to determine any issues, followed by a plan for the future. Schedule your appointment this National Children’s Dental Health Month by calling 303-468-7722.