Bad Habits for Your Child’s Teeth

From a very early age, your child could pick up bad habits that could compromise their oral health. Over time, those bad habits could cause everything from cavities and tooth decay to tooth loss and gum disease. If you don’t encourage your child to change their ways and develop healthy dental habits, those bad habits could stay with your child throughout his or her entire life.

Many parents are unaware what bad habits can cause long term problems for their child’s oral health. The following are some examples of bad habits parents should immediately start to discourage if they notice their child doing them.

Drinking from a Bottle at Night or Before Bed

Giving your child a bottle right before bed might be a regular bedtime ritual, but it can be extremely bad for your child’s teeth.

Most of the drinks you give your child contain lots of sugars. Those sugars, when left on the teeth overnight, can start to slowly wear away at your child’s tooth enamel. When the enamel wears away it can cause cavities to develop.

The best thing to do is to avoid giving your child a bottle at night. If your child absolutely must have a bottle at night, try to clean your child’s teeth as soon as possible. This will help get rid of the sugars that will eat away at your child’s teeth.

Nail Biting When Nervous

Nail biting is a nervous habit children develop. While it might calm their nerves, it can cause extreme damage to their teeth. Nail biting can cause teeth to fracture or chip. When this happens, the only option is to extract the tooth or place a crown on it.

Parents should discourage their children from biting their nails if they notice they are starting this habit. Some ways to discourage nail biting include raising awareness that the child is doing this action, painting nails with nail polish, or trying to keep the child busy with other, safer activities.

Swallowing the Toothpaste When Brushing

Children’s toothpaste is safe to swallow. However, just because it can be swallowed doesn’t mean it should be swallowed especially if it contains fluoride.

Swallowing fluoride toothpaste can cause your child to develop a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis, which happens when the body gets too much fluoride, causes unsightly brown or yellow spots to appear on the teeth.

Discourage your child from swallowing toothpaste while brushing even if they are using a non-fluoride children’s toothpaste. It may take a while for them to learn not to swallow the toothpaste, but it will help improve their oral health.

Sucking on Their Thumb

Children often find sucking on their thumb to be extremely calming. Unfortunately, this bad habit can cause numerous problems to develop over time.

If your child sucks their thumb after their permanent teeth start to grow in, it can cause the teeth to come in crooked or uneven. This misalignment of permanent teeth can cause a number of problems ranging from difficulty talking or chewing to tooth decay and pain.

Parents should allow their child to suck their thumb while they still have their baby teeth. However, once a child reaches the age of four, it is a good idea to discourage this habit as this is when permanent teeth start to grow in.

Failure to Visit the Dentist on a Regular Basis

Children learn from their parents the importance of visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Teach your child that visiting the dentist every six months, or more if there is a problem, is important by scheduling them for regular, routine visits with their dentist.

Regular checkups with a dentist will help your child get into the habit of visiting on a regular basis. This habit will hopefully stay with your child throughout their childhood and well into their adult years.

Start your child on the right path to developing good dental habits by scheduling an appointment at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our award-winning pediatric dental health practice can do everything from teaching you ways to improve your child’s oral health to conducting routine checkups.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations in central Florida.