Many parents view braces as an unfortunate but necessary part of adolescent dental care. However, some dentists claim there are steps you can take to help your child's teeth develop normally, avoiding the need for braces. Here are five tips that might help to reduce the probability of your child needing braces.
Some dentists claim that breastfeeding promotes proper tongue posture in babies, which could affect the placement of teeth when they begin to emerge from the gums. When babies latch on during breastfeeding, they use their tongue to create a seal around the nipple. They also use the tongue muscle to suck milk from the breast. The forces this movement exerts on the palate may help to encourage teeth to development with a straighter alignment. If you struggle with breastfeeding, a lactation consultant may be able to help you find a way to make it work for you.
2. Avoid Pacifiers
Sucking on a thumb or pacifier can lead to a condition called overjet, in which the upper front teeth stick out. Overjet usually requires braces to correct. Avoid using pacifiers as much as possible. As your children get older, encourage them not to suck their thumbs. There are bad-tasting products that you can paint onto the thumb nail to help them break this habit.
3. Give Chewy Foods
When your baby starts eating solids, include some foods that require chewing, such as steamed vegetables. Chewing forces help to promote normal jaw development.
4. Try Myobrace
Myobrace is a preventive pre-orthodontic treatment that aims to help children's teeth develop normally. Children wear a plastic appliance while sleeping and for one or two hours a day to align their jaws and teeth. According to the Myobrace manufacturers, this treatment is suitable for children aged between three and 15. As well as providing pressure that gradually widens the upper jaw to prevent overcrowding, Myobrace also discourages bad habits such as thumb sucking and mouth breathing.
5. Begin Dental Appointments Early
When orthodontic problems are spotted early, they often require shorter and less intensive treatments. Be sure to take your child to the dentist for a checkup as soon as their teeth begin to emerge from the gums. Maintain a regular schedule of dental checkups throughout childhood to ensure the teeth are developing normally. While this tip may not completely prevent your child needing braces, catching orthodontic problems early could reduce the necessary treatment time.