When we typically think about teeth, our focus is generally on how important they are to our appearance. The role of our teeth and other oral structures is greater than you might first assume. While they are involved in our appearance, they’re also central to how we communicate. From friendly smiles to grimaces of pain, our mouth tells others a lot about how we’re feeling. These structures are also central in how we communicate, helping us form words and be understood clearly.
Concerns such as improper bites, tongue-ties, and misaligned teeth can all affect how our children form words. Every part of our mouth is involved in forming the sounds that we use to communicate. Concerns involving the development of our oral structures can have a direct impact on our speech as a result. The teeth, tongue, and lips are all deeply involved in the way we form words. When we talk, we alter the shape of our lips and tongue, we change how we position our teeth, and we move air differently to create these sounds. Not all words require the involvement of teeth to produce, but many do.
Oral Health Concerns That Can Affect Speech Development Include:
During your standard dental visits, your dentist will screen for issues like these. Young children and infants’ primary reason for seeing the dentist is watching for issues with this development. Identifying tongue-thrusting, lip-tie, and tongue-ties early can help you take steps to avoid speech development problems. Instead, your children will benefit from the health of their teeth as they try to learn to share their feelings and thoughts.
If left untreated, concerns like these can have an impact on speech that takes years to overcome. Not just in relearning how the words are formed, but in how they feel about communicating. Children with speech development concerns often have trouble speaking later in life, even when the concerns are corrected. The confidence they have in their ability to speak and be understood, as well as to not be ridiculed for the way they speak, will be impacted. This is why it’s essential that your children see their dentist during their developmental years to get these concerns addressed.
Involving your dentist in your child’s early development is an important way to avoid lasting concerns. It’s common for speech therapists and developmental specialists to work closely with dentists when oral issues are involved. Together this team works to create a positive speech experience for the child, as well as a healthy smile. At the end, your child will be able to be more confident when speaking and making themselves understood. Don’t wait until the psychological impact of speech development issues has set in. Reach out to your dentist to ensure their smile and their speech are equally beautiful and clear.