How Soon is Too Soon When it Comes to Kids’ Braces?

The answer might surprise you. While certain braces can be recommended as young as 8 years old, it’s never too soon to start looking for signs of incorrect jaw development

As parents, we’re well versed in the importance of the early years and how crucial they are to your child’s educational development. But did you know that the early years are just as important when it comes to their smile development?

Children often have to wear metal braces during their teens. But with modern early orthodontics, it’s possible to trace the root cause of their crooked teeth – and in many cases, it comes down to how their jaw developed at a young age.

When the jaw doesn’t develop correctly, it can cause what’s known as malocclusion – or a bad bite – when the upper and lower teeth don’t come together symmetrically. This, in turn, is often what leads to protruding, misshapen and misaligned adult teeth – teeth that are simply doing their best to fit into the wrong-shaped space. The good news is that there are lots of signs parents can look out for to flag improper jaw development.

Bad chewing

Children need to chew on both sides of their mouth to help the jaw develop symmetrically and eat a balance of soft and hard foods that exercise their jaw.

Mouth breathing

Nasal breathing keeps the airway open and the tongue in the correct position, which is key to healthy jaw and facial development. Snoring, teeth grinding and frequent waking at night are all signs your child may be a mouth breather.

Tongue posture

Yes, your tongue needs to sit straight too! If you notice your child’s tongue sticks out while they are relaxed – such as watching TV – there may be an issue with their tongue that impacts on jaw growth.

Incorrect swallowing

Correct swallowing promotes healthy jaw growth, so watch your child to see if they can swallow food comfortably, with their teeth together.

Thumb-sucking and dummies

These can cause a bite problem if not addressed at the right time, ideally well before any milk teeth fall out.

If you notice any of the above, take your child for an early orthodontic assessment at a specialist practice like Happy Kids Dental. Early orthodontic treatment covers a range of options, from help with habit correction to devices that create and maintain space for the adult teeth to emerge in the right place at the right time. And the best bit? Early orthodontics can reduce or eliminate the need for treatment during the teen years – so your child may never need braces at all, or will wear them for a much shorter period of time.

Happy Kids Dental | 74-78 Seymour Place | London W1H 2EH | 020 7078 0822

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