It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month and Ashland Dental and Wellness is sharing insights and tips for helping your children develop beautiful, healthy smiles with the innovative HealthyStart® system. Good oral health is important at every phase of life. That’s because the health of our mouths directly impacts the overall health of our bodies.
Issues such as cavities, gum disease, tooth crowding, mouth breathing, and poor bite alignment do not just have an impact on the appearance of your child’s smile. They also have an impact on your child’s growth and development — and their quality of life in adulthood. Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. In young children, poor oral health can cause a host of other issues with sleep, behavior, cognitive abilities, and overall development. That is why the Ashland Dental team believes it is imperative to give your child the best start possible during their formative years.
Why Should I Care About My Child’s Baby Teeth?
One common myth is that a child’s baby teeth (primary teeth) are somehow less important because they will eventually fall out when the adult teeth are ready to come in. However, primary teeth play a critical role in your child’s permanent smile and overall wellness. Primary teeth are important for:
- Holding space for new teeth: Your child’s primary teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth. When a primary tooth is lost too early due to an accident or tooth decay, it can create problems with tooth spacing, bite, and alignment. That may not seem so serious when a child is young, but the impact can be permanent. Improper tooth placement can also cause issues with eating, breathing, and sleeping, which we will address below.
- Nutrition and overall development: Your child’s primary teeth also aid your child in chewing and swallowing during their important developmental years. If your child is experiencing pain while eating due to cavities, tooth crowding, or bite issues, it can hinder their growth and future health.
What is the HealthyStart® System?
HealthyStart is a unique system designed for children ages two and older. It utilizes specialty dental appliances to help guide your child’s teeth and dental arches during development. The purpose of the HealthyStart System is twofold:
1. Correct Sleep Disordered Breathing and Airway Issues in Children
Have you noticed behavioral issues in your child that cannot be linked to a diagnosed, underlying health condition? The culprit may be as simple as sleep-disordered breathing. The positioning of your child’s emerging teeth can have an enormous impact on the quality of their breathing, especially while sleeping. Whether your child’s airway issues are caused by overcrowding, a misaligned bite, or narrow dental arches, the results can be extremely detrimental. Sleep-disordered breathing has been linked to a variety of issues in child behavior, including:
- Struggles with learning
- Underdeveloped jaw
- Poor growth and development
- Mouth breathing
- Poor attention span
- Antisocial behavior
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
HealthyStart helps prevent sleep-disordered breathing by opening the child’s airway using innovative appliances that can be worn for a few hours a day or at night while your child is sleeping. The HealthyStart system: “opens the airway by bringing the upper and lower jaws forward”, allowing for maximum airflow. This improves symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing and can even “encourage midface growth and airway development.”
2. Ensure Straight Teeth in Children without Braces
The health and cosmetic benefits of straight teeth cannot be understated. As noted above, misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, and narrowed dental arches can all negatively impact your child’s health. HealthyStart offers early intervention at nearly half the cost of appliances like braces or Invisalign. It can also be completed long before the age of the typical orthodontic patient. Why is early intervention with HealthyStart preferable to braces at an older age?
- The HealthyStart system works far faster than braces because it corrects a child’s alignment as the teeth fill in. Your child’s dentist creates a customized treatment plan designed to correct issues while the mouth is still growing, making it easier to help position teeth before they are established in the jaw. Traditional orthodontic appliances must move existing teeth that have established root systems. This requires far more caution than guiding a developing smile to avoid the risk of tooth trauma.
- HealthyStart can correct poor habits that can lead to breathing and bite issues such as thumbsucking, mouth breathing, and tooth grinding. Early correction further eliminates the need for braces or other dental intervention because it stops current problems and prevents future ones.
- HealthyStart is easier and less invasive than traditional braces. You can help your child correct bite issues in just a few hours each day using a comfortable appliance designed with the needs of kids in mind. Alternatively, braces must be worn for months, or even years at a time to achieve the desired results. Brackets, wires, and rubber bands can be uncomfortable for brace wearers, not to mention potential damage to teeth and pain caused by hot spots or monthly tightening.
What Conditions Can HealthyStart Treat?
The following list is a brief example of the capabilities of the HealthyStart system. To learn more about other potential conditions that can be treated, take the quiz located at the end of this page.
- Crowded teeth
- Underdeveloped jaw
- Face elongations
- Open bite
- Mouth breathing
- Compromised airway
- Sleep-disordered breathing
Kid-Friendly Dentistry at Ashland Dental and Wellness
Excited to help your child begin their HealthyStart? So are we! Our kid-friendly care is second to none and we would love to be a part of your child’s journey. Get started now by taking this quick and easy quiz to learn if your child is ready for the HealthyStart system. Our experienced team will help you assess your child’s unique dental care needs and help you develop a plan that will give them a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Start the quiz now, fill out our form online, or give us a call to set up a consultation! We look forward to hearing from you.