It is important to track the development of your child’s jaw from an early age to prevent (or reduce) the need for orthodontics or braces later. Some of factors that affect this are breathing, airway and tongue habits. Experts from Boutique Dental Care explain why early dental visits for children have long-term health benefits, and what you can do about your child’s thumb-sucking!
Helping your baby develop healthy teeth
You can help your child’s first baby teeth come through healthily by making sure of a proper oral hygiene routine:
- After feeding your baby, wipe their gums gently with a damp cloth to prevent ant sugars from sitting on their gums. This helps to prevent bacteria feeding on carbohydrates which could cause gum disease.
- Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice—water is the better option. Even the natural sugars in juice can cause oral health problems if left on your baby’s gums all night.
- Thumb-sucking before adult teeth come through is—typically—not a problem. Of course, this does depend on the frequency of and force with which your child sucks their thumb.
How to handle thumb-sucking
Thumb-sucking is a perfectly normal activity for a baby. They suck their thumb because it’s a calming and comforting act—when they’re tired, bored, scared or trying to adjust to a challenge, they may suck their thumb.
For a time, thumb sucking is okay. According to the ADA most children “can safely suck their thumb – without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws – until their permanent teeth begin to appear.”
The proper alignment of teeth and jaws is why thumb sucking has to eventually stop. And typically, children will stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four.
In fact, a new study shows that young children who suck their thumbs or bite their nails may be less likely to develop allergies later in childhood.
When to start dentist visits
Between two and three, your child should have all their baby teeth. This is a good time to bring your child to the dentist for two reasons:
- Your dentist can assess your child’s oral health and make sure their gums, jaw and baby teeth are healthy. It’s also a good time for your dentist to provide advice on taking care of your child’s teeth and what do to ensure their baby teeth remain healthy. Remember: the health of your child’s baby will affect—for good or ill—the health and development of their adult teeth.
- The second reason is to help familiarize your child with dental visits, showing them it’s a normal part of growing up and staying
If you’d like to visit a dentist, Boutique Dental Care are providers of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS provides eligible children between 2 and 17 $700 over a two year period. This covers basic dental care as well as fissure sealants and a few other treatments.