The biggest causes of crooked teeth in children are a mix of genetics and behaviors. While kids can inherit certain aspects of their oral health from their parents, such as the size of their teeth and jaw, how thin their enamel is, and bite problems, there are also a lot of lifestyle factors that can encourage crooked teeth.
The following habits can all cause the teeth to shift, protrude, or be misaligned:
- Early tooth loss
- Thumb sucking
- Using a pacifier past 2 years old
- Poor oral hygiene
When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
Your child should first see an orthodontist at around 7 or 8 years old for an examination to ensure that their teeth are aligned and the jaw is developing properly. At this point, if any problems are detected, this is the optimal time for intervention because they are still developing. If your child has a malocclusion such as an over or underbite, this may be treated without the use of braces before the age of 10.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment can prevent the need for extensive treatment later on in life. This can save your child a lot of feelings of insecurity during their teenage years if they sort out orthodontic problems early enough.
Taking your child to an orthodontist at a young age can help you prepare for what to expect with their tooth alignment, even in teeth that have yet to erupt. A child’s jaw growth stops at around 12 or 13 years old so if your child has a misaligned bite, it is easier to manipulate when they are still developing. At a young age, a plate is often used to help guide the jaw into proper alignment.
If your child has prematurely lost a deciduous tooth, they should see a dentist right away to be fitted with space maintainers. Space maintainers will hold the space of the missing tooth so the surrounding teeth don’t shift and lean into the space. This way, your permanent tooth will erupt properly and in the proper space.
Maintaining good oral health is the first and foremost priority to prevent issues such as crooked teeth. If your child has poor brushing and flossing habits, this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease which impacts their ability to develop correctly.
You should also wean your child off of pacifiers at around 2 years old to prevent long-term oral health problems such as crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Thumb-sucking should be discouraged altogether as it causes the same problems and is unsanitary if your child’s fingers are not clean.
Avoid giving young children baby bottles right before they go to sleep and don’t fill them with sugary liquids or clean them with your saliva, as this can lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Do not leave spaces in the mouth if your child loses a tooth prematurely.
They should see a dentist right away and receive space maintainers or other orthodontic treatment. It’s also important to look for the early warning signs of tooth alignment issues.
You should take your child to the dentist as soon as they receive their first tooth and they should return every 6 months for checkups and cleanings. If their teeth are visibly crooked or misaligned, taking them to the orthodontist between 8-10 years old is the best time for early intervention.
Schedule Your Child’s Next Dental Cleaning & Checkup at Timber Kids Dentistry
Regular dental visits are some of the most important preventive dental habits you can form for your child. Dental cleanings and checkups are crucial for preventing tooth decay, eliminating plaque buildup, and preventing gum disease. We can also catch early orthodontic problems through x-rays. Contact us at Timber Kids Dentistry to schedule an appointment today.