It’s crucial that a child develops good dental hygiene habits from an early age. Unfortunately, the patterns that tend to stick with them are the “bad ones” — those that most parents don’t know are harmful or thought of as “normal.”
There are many bad habits that children can easily pick up that parents often ignore, which may lead to serious dental issues.
Thus, it’s important that moms and dads or guardians educate or teach their kids how to properly take care of their teeth and avoid bad oral habits such as the following.
This habit is often perceived as natural among children. While it’s safe for babies, it’s not the case for children. Thumb-sucking should be discouraged as soon as your child is past the infancy or toddler stage.
Continuous sucking will interfere with the child’s jaw development, roof, and shape of the mouth and affects how their teeth grow. It may lead to the need for uncomfortable and expensive treatments such as special retainers to help treat malformed palates or braces to correct misalignments.
The child may also develop impediments in speech, especially when trying to pronounce t’s and d’s. Thus, discouraging the thumb-sucking habit is important and must be done as soon as possible to help avoid these issues.
Good brushing habits and using brushing tools must be taught to a child early on. Teach them how to gently brush their gum line and teeth to remove plaque and debris.
Remember that brushing and scrubbing are different. But many of us are guilty of doing the latter. Thus, children pick it up and aggressively brush their teeth, thinking it’s the right way to do it. Harshly brushing the teeth or using a nylon toothbrush can lead to tooth and root damage.
If your child plays in any kind of team sport or is active in sports involving high physical activity, wearing mouthguards is a must.
Mouthguards function as protective equipment which helps protect your child’s gums and teeth from trauma that may potentially occur with sudden impact. It may not always be mandatory, but it wouldn’t hurt to be extra cautious, particularly when a child’s dental health is concerned.
Ideally, this habit should end in childhood, but many adults and kids alike use their teeth as an “alternative” opener of lids, bottle caps, packaging, and etc.
Pediatric dentists warned that doing it could damage the tooth’s enamel. The best solution is to lead by example. If your child sees you opening a package with your teeth, he/she will do the same. Thus, stop it, cold-turkey style if possible.
While many parents reprimand their kids for not brushing their teeth, other kids find joy in swallowing toothpaste. Be warned, as not spitting it out is dangerous.
Unbeknownst to many parents, toothpaste containing fluoride is not safe to be swallowed. When a child eats toothpaste, he/she gets too much fluoride which may lead to spotting or teeth discoloration. It’s also known as fluorosis.
Many cases of fluorosis are not very noticeable and relatively mild. But, the blotchy appearance can be quite distinct, which may hamper your child’s confidence later on.
As such, make sure that your child spits out toothpaste after brushing.
We can’t stress enough the importance of regular dental checkups. Parents, it’s a fact of life. From the appearance of your child’s first tooth up to the first tooth extraction, you need to ensure those regular dental appointments. It will create lifelong habits that will help them maintain sound dental health until adulthood.
The earlier a child visits a dental clinic, the better he/she will understand the importance of good dental and oral health.
That said, find a reputable clinic such as Palmetto Kids General Dentistry and Orthodontics, that will make your child feel welcome and at ease right from their first visit.
It’s important to find a place with professionals who will teach the child the importance of dental treatments without intimidating or scaring them. Thus, practice regular rounds of dental checkups as early as possible.