Improving smile esthetics in children may assist in social interactions

A schoolyard bully can always find perceived flaws to use as teasing material, even smiles. A recent systematic review displays the social impact mocking can have on children with poor smile esthetics.

The article, published online in May 2016 from the bimonthly journal The Angle Orthodontist, comes from six scientists at the dental school of Turin University in Italy. After searching all peer-reviewed articles containing the words ‘children,’ ‘adolescents,’ ‘smile esthetics perception’ and ‘smile esthetics evaluation,’ the authors selected five studies to systematically review.

The results showed that the smile is important for adolescents as well as children less than 10 years of age. The children with pleasing smiles had more healthy social interactions as well as far less teasing than those without.

However, the authors admit that they are not sure how old a child is before they accept smiles. To dig deeper into this topic, they would have to conduct studies that analyze the psychological impact of having misshapen teeth as well as how correcting a child’s smile affects social interactions.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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  • Floss once a day – each night help your child floss. Flossing helps loosen food debris and plaque at and under the gum line that would otherwise harden into tartar. It can also help reach the nooks and crannies in the teeth that might be difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
  • Use a fluoride rinse – after brushing and before bed have your child rinse with fluoride rinse to help keep teeth strong and healthy
  • Dental visits every six months – take your child to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months. The dentist can point out areas that need more attention, and help make sure you're keeping your child’s teeth healthy and clean.

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