If you suffer from TMJ, you probably are well aware of the symptoms you often struggle with. But what about if lately you’ve noticed your kid is showing some similar symptoms such as grinding their teeth or snoring too? You start to wonder if they are having some of the other symptoms that you’re having, and could it mean that they are going to follow in your footsteps? While there are many possible causes for TMJ disorders, including environmental, hormonal, and injuries, genetic factors do play a big role. 

Many children inherit their dental issues from their parents, and oftentimes these issues don’t show up until later in life. TMJ and a misaligned bite are rarely an immediate issue that dentists look to correct. However, these issues are something that can lead to bigger problems over time such as a risk of teeth breaking or wearing down faster. Fortunately, there are things you can look for and actions you can take now to ensure that your children are set up for their best dental health from the start. 

Here are three steps you can take now to set your child up for their greatest dental health:

1. Bring your child to a holistic orthodontist who will examine their airways and make sure their bite is aligned properly.  

We normally bring our child to a dentist when there is an urgent problem, and therefore, on the flipside, dentists often focus on the immediate problem(s). But as mentioned above, a misaligned bite is rarely an immediate issue, and as a result, most dentists don’t focus on it. However, if your child’s bite is not aligned properly, that can cause greater issues such as sleep apnea and decreased quality of sleep—and sleep is a very critical aspect of your child’s growth and health. Bringing your child to a holistic orthodontist, such as Dr. Coats at TMJ+, will ensure the root cause of the issue is addressed and aid your child to be on the right track for great dental health. 

2. Do a sleep study to see if your child is suffering from reduced oxygen flow during their sleep. 

A misaligned bite constricts the airways, leading to less oxygen flow. A sleep study can help as it watches how your child sleeps to diagnose possible sleep apnea and snoring. From there, the results are able to identify whether or not there is reduced oxygen flow during your child’s sleep. Some sleep studies can even be mailed to your house for added convenience. Diagnosing this problem of reduced oxygen flow early on is key to acquiring practical solutions for a healthy future.

3. Look under your children’s tongue to see if they are tongue tied

There is also a simpler test you can do: see if your child can lick an ice cream cone held 1-2 inches in front of their mouth. If they aren’t able to, their tongue is most likely tied. When your child’s tongue is tethered, that affects their jaw, TMJ, airways, and their ability to breathe at night like a complete domino-effect. This means that your child cannot facilitate proper breathing which can lead to other problems in the future. Other signs you can look for include if they are a mouth breather or a picky eater. 

Taking these actions to help your child now can measurably improve their health later on. Not only will it mean a better future for them, but it could also mean better current performance in school and in sports. For example, if your child has a misaligned bite or a tongue tie, they’re dealing with sub-optimal oxygen flow because their airways are too small. Reduced oxygen results in decreased quality of sleep, which can affect your child’s health as well as many aspects of their life such as sports and academic performance. Addressing these issues holistically will mean not just improved dental health, but better sleep and better performance in life too. Take this issue seriously now while it’s easier to fix and call today to schedule a free consultation for your child!

 

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