Often we hear parents say "bad teeth run in my family." They grew up with poor dental health and are resigned to the fact that since they have bad teeth, their children will, too.
Children can inherit traits that make teeth more susceptible to decay, such as deep grooves in molars or tight contacts between teeth (making them harder to clean). Some families may indeed carry a higher susceptibility to decay "bad teeth," but these problems are not inevitable and can be overcome.
Parents sometimes think that their children eat healthy snacks because the box of Fruit Roll-Ups says "made with 10 percent real fruit juice," or they only allow their children one soda a day... but it may be a 64-ounce Big Gulp.
Frequency of snacking also contributes greatly to the incidence of decay. Interventions that can aid in overcoming "heredity" include flossing; fluoride mouth rinse for tight contacts; avoidance of sticky, retentive snacks; and the placement of sealants on teeth with deep grooves.
Another factor in a patient's susceptibility to decay can be associated with the way the teeth fit together in the mouth. A severe overbite or other malocclusions (bad bites) may contribute to the development of tooth decay, because the teeth simply do not come into contact with each other properly.
A good occlusion (how the teeth fit together) allows the teeth to cleanse themselves as we chew; therefore, it is important to a child's dental health to have proper occlusion. Very often, orthodontics - the specialty that straightens teeth - is seen as simply providing a great smile, when in reality, a child's overall dental health may be compromised greatly by a bad bite.
Parents can also benefit from an evaluation of why THEY may have bad teeth, and how they can overcome their "heredity" to create a healthier oral environment.
Dr. Bhatia is happy to answer any additional questions. Send them to her at Kihei Orthodontics, 1280 S. Kihei Road, Suite 206, or visit www.kiheiorthodonticsmaui.com.
Dr. Bhatia has completed two full years of specialty training in orthodontics after obtaining her degrees in Pediatric Dentistry and General Dentistry. Orthodontics is not part of what we do - it's ALL that we do!