We can often overlook our dental hygiene, doing the bare minimum with brushing our teeth and using mouthwash. Research shows that adults, in general, can go up to an average of two to three days without brushing their teeth. And among those that do it every day, 30% only do so once a day. Often, these habits start from a young age and are ingrained by the time we reach adulthood. You may even notice that you are suddenly suffering from oral issues that you can’t pinpoint the cause of, but it’s often because of actions that started in your youth.
That is why pediatric dentists note the following childhood issues that need to be addressed in youth to prevent problems later in life:
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A bad bite that wasn’t identified sooner
If a child has malocclusion, it can stem from either genetics or habits like thumb-sucking or using a pacifier for too long. If it doesn’t cause pain, many people choose to live with it, especially if there’s no obvious impediment or visual factors that make them feel conscious. However, overbites tend to develop over time. As its severity increases, you may notice that in adulthood, you may experience more difficulty with eating and chewing. Worse cases even shift the face shape, damage the gums and teeth, and cause problems with speech and breathing.
It should be noted that treating an overbite can be more complicated in adulthood, so it’s best to nip this in the bud from childhood if it’s apparent.
Tooth loss from poor oral hygiene in youth
If you were or are the type of kid to skip flossing and eat a lot of sugar and starches, it may come back to bite you (pun intended) when you are older and your body is less resilient with fighting off the corrosive effects of these components. Tooth decay should be checked on regularly in childhood, with a dental cleaning done at least once a year. Skipping these might lead to a nasty surprise when you come in for a required check-up for a job application and find that you have gum disease or deep and multiple cavities.
Muscle atrophy and other strain issues from eating on one side of the mouth
Kids can develop the habit of only chewing their food on one side all the time, but it’s essential to have a balance and eat with both sides of the mouth or at the very least alternate adequately. When this habit is sustained, it eventually causes muscle atrophy on the unused side while the one being solely used can lead to Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, which creates a lot of pain and difficulty moving the jaw.
That is only the tip of the iceberg over a seemingly simple habit. Other complications include gingival recession, tooth erosion, and in more severe cases, even facial asymmetry.
With these conditions, it’s vital to stop any habits you’ve developed from youth that can cause you oral problems. If you have any children yourself, make sure to take them to a pediatric dentist to check if these issues are starting to crop up and get preventative measures.