Parents always wish and want everything good for their children. There are many growth and development factors that parents should keep into consideration in the first decade of their children’s life. Amazingly, it is the dentist who becomes the vital guardian of your child’s normal facial growth and development. Remember, the role of the dentist in your child is more than just taking care of the teeth. The goal of your child’s dentist should achieve the following:
· Beautiful smile
· Pretty face that equals optimal esthetics
· No sleep apnea
· Lifetime oral health
· No temporal-mandibular Joint, TMJ problems
· Normally functioning Bite
What Hinders Normal Facial Development?
The most common cause of normal and natural facial development is mouth breathing. At a tender age, nasal breathing can become difficult at times. Apart from other causes, tonsils and Adenoids are the most common causes of obstruction of nasal breathing. When you or your child begin to breathe through the mouth, the nasal passage begins to narrow stunting proper growth because the tongue does not press into the palate, which is its normal position.
When the shape of the upper jaw changes, the lower jaw starts to grow to compensate and maintain an open airway. This results in a long facial profile, less prominent chin, and an overall small mouth. This leads to a smaller airway and a less desirable facial appearance.
Take a look at your teeth— if you notice your bottom front teeth are taller than the bottom back teeth, then you are a mouth breather.
Tongue positioning and Facial Growth
If not addressed early, improper tongue positioning can lead to much dental health and other health issues. If the tongue rests at the bottom of your mouth, it can put pressure on the lower teeth. It gradually pushes the lower jaw and the teeth forward into pathologic positions that are sometimes painful. Additionally, poor tongue positioning can result in crowded teeth as well as bite issues. These tongue forces can change your facial appearance, and place a lot of strain on your back and neck.
Also, improper tongue positions can make you develop forward head posture, making it difficult to swallow food. Besides, inappropriate tongue position can lead to the development of spaces and gaps, malocclusion and other health problems throughout your child’s facial growth and development.
If there is no early intervention, these signs and symptoms can lead to severe TMJ pain in the future. These issues include snoring and sleep apnea, chronic headache, difficulties in breathing, daytime fatigue and more mouth-body related issues.
When you realize the position of your tongue is inappropriate you can try mewing to return it to its position before everything fall out of hand.
Teeth and Airway
Even as early as 2 years old, the position of your child’s teeth can tell insufficient jaw size, poor facial and airway development. Furthermore, this can indicate symptoms of poor dysfunction that can result in obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing. The earlier these signs are noticed and treated, the healthier your child will grow.
Issues around Mouth Breathing and Midface deficiency
Other issues that can affect facial growth include the thumb or finger sucking, tongue-tie, chewing objects like pencil/pen or lip biting.
As true to other mal-adaptations, mouth breathing affects other body parts apart from the face and jaws. Mouth breathing can trickle into the rest of the body affecting your body posture.
Over time, these postures can lead to skeletal changes like loss of neck curvature, rotations of the vertebrae, a tilted pelvis, forward head postures, and tight calf muscles among others.
Does your child Snore?
Snoring should not be taken as normal to children. Snoring and sleep apnea is a concern for mouth breather children. Children who snore should always visit a physiologic dentist for an airway evaluation to assess their proper facial growth and development.
In a nutshell
Appropriate oxygenation through proper breathing, a normal and healthy-full-grown airway coupled with the correct night sleep, improves hormonal and immune systems. This, in addition, can lead to not only better school and sports performance but also a healthier and happier child. This, in turn, will give the parents peace of mind. Do not forget that straight and good-looking teeth are the icing on the cake