Helping your children establish a good relationship with the dentist at a young age is incredibly important. Getting your child used to dental exams and teeth cleanings every six months shows your kids that oral health is a priority at every age – and that going to the dentist isn’t scary. The brushing and flossing habits your kids develop at home are just as important to the health of their teeth and gums as dental visits. Some behaviors and choices can damage the teeth of little ones. And these problems can be costly and discouraging. Regular family dentistry visits help make oral health a priority for every member of your family.
Nix Bad Habits Early
Yes, your child will eventually lose all their baby teeth. This does not mean, however, that it’s ok to ignore or neglect their oral health until the adult teeth have erupted. Most kids don’t start losing their teeth until age 5 or 6. By this time, good oral health habits should be part of their morning and bedtime routines.
The following bad habits can easily damage your children’s teeth:
- Sucking their thumb. Sucking on thumbs or fingers can lead to a deformation of the upper and lower arches of the mouth. That’s a sure recipe for orthodontia. When thumb-sucking is a comfort method, your dentist or pediatrician can recommend alternative sources of comfort that discourage your child from resorting to putting their fingers in their mouth.
- Using a pacifier for too long. Pacifiers can interfere with normal tooth and jaw development, which can lead to problems later for your child. Pacifiers are not a bad thing, but using them past the age of 1 year old can make them incredibly difficult to wean your child off later.
- Taking a bottle of milk to bed. We get it, you’ll do just about anything to help your child get to sleep on his own. Just don’t make it a bottle of milk. While milk is good for kids and is packed with vitamin D and calcium, which help build strong teeth, milk is also full of natural sugar. Drinking milk before bed without brushing afterward means teeth are heading into the night coated in enamel-destroying sugar.
- Drinking too many powerades, energy drinks, or sodas. While sports drinks are promoted as rehydrating electrolytes, they’re not good for kids’ or adults’ teeth because they contain so much sugar. Soda, of course, is heavy with sugar. Sipping on these drinks throughout the day is even worse than drinking a soda at one sitting as the teeth are constantly bathed in sugar, leading to damaged enamel and a higher chance of cavities. A reliable preventive measure to protect your child’s newly erupted adult teeth from developing decay is to have sealants applied.
- Biting their nails. You might be worried more about your child’s nails and hands than their teeth if they’re a nail biter. However, this bad habit can damage tooth enamel, chip front teeth, and it can increase a child’s risk of grinding their teeth.
- Poor oral hygiene habits. It’s not the responsibility of your little ones to know to brush and floss their teeth. It’s up to parents to teach the right oral health skills and to help children execute these tasks until they are old enough to understand the importance of doing them diligently every day. Left to their own devices, children may skip brushing and flossing entirely. If they do brush, the task may not be done thoroughly enough or long enough to make a difference.
It’s a big responsibility to take all the right steps to protect your child’s teeth from decay, damage, or other problems. Choosing the right family dentistry practice in Johns Creek helps get your child off on the right foot. Visit Dr. Patel at his Suwanee-area family dentistry practice where we treat every member of your family. Contact us to make your appointments today and get your child off on the right foot with a lifetime of good oral health.