Straight teeth and a healthy smile can give a person amazing confidence. On the other hand, teeth that are in an incorrect position may impact on self image, attitude and confidence of children (and adults too). This is especially important when children are developing social and psychological maturity in the teenage years.
Hiding their smile
It is very common for a child with crooked teeth to avoid smiling or to cover their mouth when smiling. There is a surprising amount of evidence that would suggest that kids are frequently teased and bullied when there are obvious crowding or spacing issues with the teeth. This can make a child less outgoing and less engaging in social situations due to the idea that other people may be judging them based on their teeth, having a huge negative impact on their self-esteem and confidence.
The effect of crooked teeth
Teeth function best when oral hygiene is good and when they are in the correct position. There is not a great deal of scientific evidence available to say that crooked teeth are bad. However, it is believed that teeth in an incorrect position can cause significant wear on teeth, gum problems and sometimes, bite shifting, which can contribute towards unfavourable jaw growth or an asymmetry in a child’s jaws.
What can impact on my child’s oral health?
Things to look out for in your child include:
- Thumb sucking
- Snoring and teeth grinding
- Fingernail biting
- Mouth breathing
- Buck teeth and teeth that stick out
- Deep bites and overbites
- Open bites
- Space loss or crowding
- Abnormal eruption of teeth
Some of these problems can have significant consequences, so if you notice an issue or suspect a problem, dental professionals recommend being dilligent and taking your child to see a specialist orthodontist for a consultation. Often, early intervention can prevent issues from becoming a bigger problem later on.
This article was written by Dr Mo Al-Dujaili (BDS, DClinDent (Ortho), MRACDS (Ortho), MOrthRCSEd), a highly qualified specialist orthodontist, who works at Shakespeare Orthodontics, a private orthodontist practice in Auckland. Find out more at www.mybraces.co.nz.