Aug 01 , 2020

Terrible Habits For Your Child's Teeth

As parents, we always strive to keep our children’s pearly whites in perfect shape. This is why we make trips to the dentist, buy fun toothbrushes, and enforce healthy hygiene rules at home. However, cavities may creep into our children’s mouths without us knowing it.

Bad habits that damage precious tooth enamel might not cause trouble right away, but they do increase your little one’s chances of suffering painful toothaches. The more your child gnaws on hard pencils and ice, the weaker his teeth become against daily oral health hazards. Here are some of the worst habits for your child’s teeth.

1. Eating Too Many Sweets

What child doesn’t love sucking on a lollipop every now and then? Although sweets are a precious part of any child’s life, too much of them can lead to nasty tooth decay. When plaque reacts to the sugars in sweet drinks, hard candy, and juice, the result is harmful acid that erodes tooth enamel.

Healthy snacks free from sugar are a better alternative to sweets. Think fruits and sugar-free biscuits. Of course, your child might not want to part from their favorite sweet treats right away. To mitigate the damage sugar does to your child’s teeth, only offer sweets with meals or a glass of water. Make sure that they brush soon after eating sweets, too. This should lessen your child’s exposure to sugar and ensure that they don’t deal with emergency trips to the dentist.

2. Sipping Sugary Drinks

You might be tempted to help your child sleep better with a glass of milk or a sippy cup filled with juice. However, this habit may only cause problems down the line. Like sweet snacks, certain drinks are full of sugars that can interact with plaque and eventually lead to painful cavities. Sodas, chocolate milk, and super sweet juices may taste good, but they can get in the way of good oral health in childhood.

To save your child’s teeth from an early demise, only offer a glass of water before bed. It’s also important to make sure your child doesn’t forget to brush after sipping a sugary drink. When kids forget to brush before bed, the sugars from snacks and drinks can stick to teeth and cause serious damage.

3. Nibbling Fingernails

Kids who bite their fingernails due to stress or boredom aren’t just at risk of painful cavities. They may even end up scratching up sensitive gum tissue without realizing it. The bacteria from nails can also invade the body and cause nasty health problems.

The best way to mitigate damage from fingernail biting is to help your child deal with stress or anxiety in healthier ways. Suggest breathing or writing exercises as less painful alternatives to nail-biting. You might also want to discuss risk-free stress relief activities with other parents or your family doctor.

4. Rough Play without Protection

Contact sports come with risks for people of all ages. When your child bumps into posts or people during a game, they can lose teeth or suffer injured gums. To avoid any accidents during sports or rough play, instruct your child to protect his teeth with a mouthguard. Let your child know that proper protection is the only way to avoid emergency visits to the doctor or dentist and that their teeth need love and care even after meals.

5. Missing Out On Dental Check-Ups

Both adults and kids need to attend regular dental checkups every six months. Although your child’s teeth may look and feel alright, neglecting to get a proper cleaning and evaluation could result in painful oral health problems. Your dentist will need to not just check for signs of cavities, but also discuss oral health habits and advice for your child. Letting your child meet regularly with the dentist will also help them feel more comfortable with important checkups.

6. Too Much Thumb Sucking

A little thumb sucking in babies and toddlers is okay. Since permanent teeth haven’t emerged yet, there aren’t any risks to their oral health. However, thumb and pacifier sucking isn’t a great habit for preschoolers at all.

Sucking on a thumb, pacifier, or any other object can dislodge emerging teeth and interfere with healthy jaw development. When this habit isn’t broken right away, your child becomes at risk of more serious problems, such as problems with chewing and speaking. Kids usually grow out of sucking habits by age 4, but do consult your dentist if your child finds it difficult to stop.

7. Gnawing On Hard Objects

Chewing ice, pencils, and other hard objects can increase your child's chances of getting terrible cavities. The bacteria in household objects can enter the body through your child's mouth, while cool temperatures in ice can spell trouble for your teeth. Excessive chewing can also damage tooth enamel, pierce gums, and lead to problems like tooth decay. Most kids grow out of harmful chewing habits once they know the risks, but be prepared to step in if your child finds it difficult to stop.