February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and this year’s theme is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.”
This is an important message to spread because reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems, according to the National Education Association. Those missed hours amount to lots of critical instruction time that is lost. This instruction is particularly important in early grades where reading skills are an important focus. Students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.
Orthodontics and Dental Health
Orthodontic treatment plays a valuable role in building a lifetime of healthy smiles, and we’re making sure that children and their parents understand that not only during National Children’s Dental Health Month, but all year long.
Teeth that are crowded and crooked create lots of little areas where tiny bits of food can accumulate and plaque buildup can occur. Plaque carries bacteria that can cause harm to your tooth enamel and eventually cause cavities.
If it isn’t removed, plaque can harden and become tartar. Tartar is known to form beneath your gum line. Over time, it can lead to periodontal disease and gum recession. Removing plaque on a regular basis by practicing good oral care at home can help keep cavities and gum disease at bay. But having crooked, crowded teeth can make regular oral care difficult. Orthodontic treatment that brings teeth into proper alignment and creates ideal spacing leads to easier dental care down the road. The fact is, it’s just plain easier to brush and floss straight teeth.
Orthodontic treatment has other dental health benefits. By bringing teeth and jaws into proper alignment, you can avoid problems such as abnormal enamel wear, jaw pain and difficulty chewing.
National Children’s Dental Health Month also is a good time to remind parents of the importance of an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this age, a child has a combination of baby and adult teeth, and I can identify jaw growth problems and potential complications with erupting teeth.
In most cases, this evaluation doesn’t reveal anything that needs to be addressed immediately. But in a few very important cases, identifying issues at this young age often means I can recommend a treatment plan that uses a child’s growth to correct a variety of issues. Going this route often means preventing the need for tooth extractions and surgical interventions later in life. It also may reduce the amount of time a child requires braces in the future, or pave the way to less complicated treatment.
In growing children, we can guide that growth to accomplish things such as creating more room for erupting teeth, widening the palate, and promoting jaw growth to allow the jaws to align better.
We here at Orthodontics Only enjoy working with patients of all ages to improve their dental health, increase their self-confidence and give them a reason to smile. Please call our office today if you would like to schedule an initial evaluation for your child, or you’re interested in learning more about treatment for yourself. We look forward to meeting you soon!