Are Your Toddler’s Teeth Growing In Crooked? Here’s What You Should Do
Proud moms and dads always beam with happiness when their little bundle of joy shows off their toothy grin. There’s nothing more adorable than a toddler with a jaunty set of chompers, and it’s always a rite of passage when your own son or daughter gets his or her first baby teeth.
However, sometimes that joy can become concern if your toddler develops dental issues as their baby teeth come in. One of the most common issues that parents of toddlers encounter is that of baby teeth coming in crooked. Are you in the same boat? Read on for more information!
Crooked baby teeth, while possibly alarming for a parent, are not as serious as you might think. Pediatric dentists and other oral health specialists say that when baby teeth erupt, they often do emerge slightly twisted. However, these teeth are still healthy and may even right themselves on their own – and there’s been no link between a toddler having crooked baby teeth and then developing permanent teeth with the same issue.
What you can do is monitor your toddler’s teeth as they continue to come in. If the first one or two are crooked but the rest come in straight, you likely have nothing to worry about. Likewise, if there’s space between your toddler’s teeth, that’s a good sign – that means there will be room for your child’s larger permanent teeth when they come in. That means less chance of crowding and a reduced likelihood of having to correct any crooked adult teeth.
Addressing the Problem
If you do see a bit of crowding in your toddler’s baby teeth, again it’s not any cause for alarm. However, you may want to plan a visit to your child’s dentist. A good pediatric dental expert can help determine if your child may need some help preparing his or her dental arch for those larger permanent teeth when they do come in.
Many times, your child’s dentist will just tell you to keep a close eye on things. In some cases, though, your dentist may recommend that your toddler begin wearing a retainer to help correct the spacing of their teeth – children as young as 4 years old can and do often wear removable retainers that can correct a dental arch and provide more room for emerging teeth, paving the way for a lessened need for more intensive orthodontic work for older kids.
The Best Bet
The most important thing you can do to keep your child’s smile healthy is to ensure you keep those baby teeth nice and clean, crooked or not. Cleaning regularly with a xylitol gel – or a toothbrush with just a drop of a mild fluoride toothpaste – is a great start. Not only does this keep uncomfortable and painful dental health issues like early childhood caries at bay, it instills good oral hygiene in your kids from an early age.
In the event that your child’s baby teeth are indeed slightly crooked, or even if they’re crowded, you should also focus on flossing as well. As closely-spaced teeth are harder to clean with regular brushing alone, they can harbor more bacteria than those that are spaced more widely. Flossing will keep those close spaces clean, providing your toddler with a happy, healthy smile for years to come!
Remember: they may be called “baby” teeth, but your child will have them for a very long time – possibly into their middle school years. Take care of them well and your child, as an adult, will have the beautiful smile he or she deserves.