Making the Grade with West Maple

Spring truly is the season for growth, change, and health! While Omaha may have found itself with a rather chilly start to the season, spring will always come, however late! And with it, opportunities to start fresh, relearn, and grow together!

As the school year comes to a close, you and your child may be very preoccupied with the thought of finals, year end grades, and how this year’s report card will reflect on their future goals. While we don’t give out report cards, your child’s oral health will be tested in more ways than one!

From having a confident smile to avoiding expensive repairs, how much your child learns about taking care of their mouth will affect their health and confidence for the rest of their lives.

Today’s lesson is a short study in your child’s teeth! How they grow, how to keep them healthy, and why it matters!

Grow, Baby, Grow!

Did you know that children statistically grow measurably more in the spring than any other time of the year? Researchers have spent years narrowing down the causes for this accelerated growth, and it comes down to several factors

  • Increased sun exposure means higher levels of vitamin D, which create stronger, healthier bones
  • Warmer weather means more playing outdoors, and more high-impact activity, which can strengthen bones and increase muscles mass
  • Improved circulation from activities leads to higher energy levels, healthier skin, and improved focus
  • Increased activity leads to a more restful sleep, giving the body time to heal, grow, and regenerate

It’s important to anticipate these growth spurts for many reasons. If your child becomes particularly restless at night, it could very likely be caused by growing pains in the limbs. Soaking in a warm bath, gentle massage of the affected area, and increasing potassium intake (which can be as easy as eating a banana daily) can help ease the discomfort.

Getting Crowded in Here!

Another benefit to anticipating growth is the ability to use preventive orthodontics to help guide your child’s teeth properly into place. As the jaw and facial bones grow, they can alter your child’s bite, facial structure, and spacing. This can cause overcrowding, resulting in crooked teeth. If addressed early, it may be possible to avoid the need for more expensive and extensive corrections later!

While it seems that our mouth wouldn’t contain more or larger teeth than our mouths can safely accommodate, many problems like tongue thrusting, headaches, mouth and jaw pain, and unnecessary crowding can be caused by a lack of space in the mouth. Using jaw expanders is a gradual and safe way to create more room in your child’s mouth, helping avoid these painful issues!

Catching overcrowding before the loss of the final baby teeth is a great way to use interceptive orthodontics. Spacers and other temporary hardware can guide your child’s teeth into place, helping to avoid bite problems, and spacing issues.

Overcrowded teeth are far more difficult to keep properly clean and are more susceptible to decay and damage. If your child ultimately does need braces, we will refer you to a very trusted orthodontist, who cares as much about your child’s smile as we do!

Breaking Up

Interceptive Orthodontics may also be used if a sports injury, clumsiness, or decay have cost your little one a tooth before it was ready to go. Losing baby teeth doesn’t seem like a very big deal, but if it’s lost before the adult set is ready to take its place, the surrounding teeth will move into the space created, leaving little or no room for the new tooth to come through!

This can lead to odd spaces, crooked and crowded teeth, and painful orthodontic treatments later in life if not addressed early. A simple metal spacer can hold the place of the missing tooth until the new one takes its place!

We will teach you and your child to care for temporary hardware, how to clean it, and how to protect new teeth as them come through.

Summer Vacation Doesn’t Mean Taking a Break

As vacation time approaches, it may be a great time to revisit proper oral care! Leaving the house in the morning during the school year often feels like a fire drill, and by bedtime, your child may be too tired to do an effective job. Now in the no-stress summer, take the time to go over the basics again, reminding your child that there is always time to properly care for their mouth!
When your child is on summer break, you want to let them just enjoy their time off! Bedtimes often slip out from underneath you, and with them, the bedtime routine. As the late nights wear on, be sure to remind your child to take a break from their evening activities to spare 5 minutes for their teeth! While they may be on vacation, bacteria are still happy to work 24 hours a day!

Even if you’ve abandoned an official bedtime for the summer, try scheduling a time to limit snacking. At 9pm (Or your pre-determined cut off) put the snacks away and take a break from movies or games to brush and floss. It’s still important that your child gets plenty of rest, and keeping a firm window on snacking can encourage them to bed on their own a little earlier.

Higher Education

If you have an older child who is home from college this summer, try to get them in for a checkup! Between studies, work, tests, and trying to maintain a social life, making an appointment with the dentist has very likely fallen off of their radar!

Remind them that while their growth spurts have come to an end, nobody outgrows the need for proper dental care.
West Maple is proud to be on your team from teething, to growth spurts, to grown and gone. We are grateful that you’ve chosen to be part of our family, and to let us look after yours!

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