By Diana Smith,
Every parent wants to be assured that their kid is perfectly healthy. And even if there is a problem with their kid’s health, they will always feel more at peace knowing that there is a solution to the problem. But something that many kids will need when they get slightly older is braces. It’s nothing to be scared of or worried about: millions of kids around the world wear braces for both aesthetic and medical reasons and if a dentist recommends braces, you would do well to take their advice. But, if you are not sure whether your kid needs braces or not, look for these signs:
1. Speech difficulty
If your child is having trouble pronouncing certain words or letters, it might be because their teeth are not growing correctly. Overcrowding of the teeth or an irregular setup can interrupt their tongue while they are trying to speak. Likewise, if they have a speech impediment, like a lisp, they might be simultaneously be pushing their teeth forward with their tongue, which can displace them or make them crooked.
2. Thumb sucking
Many children suck their thumb. It is completely normal and something most kids do, but if it continues past the age of four, it can cause problems, because it can push their upper teeth forward, resulting in an overbite, or cause their lower jaw to develop abnormally. It is best to start getting them out of the habit when they turn three, to prevent potential harm.
3. Difficulty biting
Watch your kid when they are eating. Do they chew normally? If you see that they are straining their face in a strange way or always pushing their food to one side, it might be a sign of an imbalanced jaw, which prevents their teeth from comfortably meeting. A similar symptom can be mouth breathing, and they are all signs that there is something wrong with your kid’s teeth, and you should see a dentist to see if there is something that can be done with braces.
4. Biting the inside of their mouth
If your child complains about wounds in the inner part of their mouth, or if you notice that they often bite or scrape the inside of their cheek, it is most likely because their teeth are not aligned correctly or they are growing out very sharp. Your child might be hiding this from you, so make sure you pay attention to details such as them chewing food with their front teeth instead of on the side, or avoiding hot foods.
5. Overbite or underbite
If you notice that your child has an overbite (top jaw and teeth protruding over the bottom ones) or an underbite (bottom jaw protruding), it is a sign that your child’s jaws are not properly aligned, and if not taken care of, it can cause problems down the line, like the inability to restore fractured teeth, bigger risk of trauma to the teeth and even accelerated face aging. If you notice this abnormality in your child, talk to a dentist about the possibility of kids’ braces.
If your child doesn’t want to wear braces out of fear of being teased, in pain or uncomfortable, explain to them why it’s important to wear them now, and explain the benefits of it in the future. Braces are rarely recommended for children under the age of seven, but every situation is different and your dentist will know best. The sooner your child is fitted with braces and their teeth start healing, the less time it will take for their teeth to get fixed and the sooner the braces will come off.