We all know the importance of teaching our children how to brush and floss, but most of us don’t even think about all the other things they do that could be damaging their teeth. Recognizing and addressing the bad habits affecting your child’s teeth now can help prevent serious dental issues from developing in the future.
Bad Habits That Are Damaging Your Child’s Teeth
Once a child’s permanent teeth have started to erupt, thumb/finger sucking can cause permanent changes to the tooth and jaw structure. A 5-year-old child who is still sucking on his or her thumb/finger can cause the teeth to become misaligned, making it difficult to chew and/or breathe.
Eating Sticky, Sugary Foods and Drinking Soda
There is no doubt that chewy, sticky, sugary foods taste great; however, these treats can linger around your child’s teeth for hours. Instead of giving your child sticky candies randomly throughout the day, consider giving them with a meal. When your child eats a meal, saliva production increases. The increase in saliva production helps rinse away the candy.
Just like candy, sodas contain a lot of sugar. On top of the sugar, these drinks contain acid. Left on the teeth, this acid can damage the enamel. Try to switch from soda to fresh water. If your child is going to drink soda, do not let him or her sip on it all day long; instead, have your child drink the entire glass within just a few minutes. Follow it up with a rinse of fresh water to help get the acid off of his or her teeth.
Brushing and/or Flossing Incorrectly
Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth twice a day with a child-sized toothbrush: Brush once in the morning and again before bed.
Flossing teeth is just as important as brushing. If you are not sure how to teach your child to floss correctly, just ask for a demonstration the next time you visit our office.
Brushing Too Hard or Using a Hard-Bristled Toothbrush
Using a toothbrush that is too hard or brushing too vigorously can weaken the enamel and cause gum irritation. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that a soft-bristled toothbrush be used. To keep from brushing too hard, tell your child to think massage, not scrub.
Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding Can Wreak Havoc on Your Child’s Teeth
Sometimes, children grind their teeth while they sleep or due to anxiety while they are awake. In addition, stress can cause your child to clench his or her jaw. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to jaw pain, and a wearing down of the teeth. A custom-designed mouth guard can be worn at night to protect the teeth while the child sleeps. Left untreated, the teeth may crack and chip. If you think your child may be stressed, consider making time for a trip to the park: Exercise tends to help reduce stress.
Munching on Ice
Although an ice cube seems harmless, its hard exterior and cold temperature can seriously damage the teeth. Keep your child from being tempted to chew on ice by either eliminating the use of ice or, if ice is used, providing a straw.
Using Their Teeth as a Handy Tool
Since our teeth are always there, many people consider them to be the handiest tooth they have; however, they were never meant to take on the role of scissors or bottle openers. If your children are using their teeth as tools, it is best to stop this habit now. Using the teeth to bite off a price tag, open a bag of chips or carry something through the house can lead to the fracture or complete chipping off of a weakened tooth.
Holding Objects Between Their Teeth
It is not uncommon for people who are concentrating to place pencils, pens or eyeglasses between their teeth; however, biting down on these items can cause teeth to fracture, crack or even shift.
Nail biting is a nervous habit that causes the jaw to remain forward for an extended period of time, which leads to jaw dysfunction. In addition, nail-biting can cause chipped teeth. Try to break this habit by keeping the hands busy and/or using a bitter-tasting nail polish.
Snacking all day increases the risk of developing cavities. As bacteria eat the remaining food, they begin producing acid. This acid attacks the enamel of the teeth, causing it to weaken. Weakened enamel leads to tooth decay. The best way to counteract snacking is to drink a large glass of water after eating.
What Makes Docbraces Unique?
At Docbraces, we are dedicated to providing our patients with ground-breaking dental treatments at reasonable prices. We offer family discounts, interest-free payment plans and incentive programs. Our goal is to make the most innovative dental treatments affordable for everyone in and around Atlantic Canada. Docbraces offers free consultations, complimentary second opinions and T-Link online patient portals. If your child is demonstrating some bad habits, contact our office today at 1-866-639-7695 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced orthodontists.