It’s never too early to instill good dental habits in your children. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends a child’s first check up by the first tooth or the first birthday, whichever comes first. Here are some dental habits you can help your child kick to set the stage for a lifetime of good oral health:
Drinking From a Bottle
Bottle feeding at night can lead to the pitting and discoloration of your child’s teeth. Called “bottle mouth,” this condition is caused by drinking milk and sugary liquids which can sit on your child’s teeth overnight and promote tooth decay.
With all the fun flavors of children’s fluoride toothpaste on the market, your child may be tempted to swallow it while brushing. And while fluoride is good for your kids’ teeth, it isn’t good if consumed in large quantities over time. Swallowing toothpaste can lead to fluorosis, which causes brown spots on the teeth. Until your child is old enough to spit, it may be best to use a non-fluoride toothpaste.
Chewing on Non-Food Items
When your child uses their teeth as a tool to bite their nails or open wrapped items better suited for scissors, they run the risk of breaking tooth enamel and exposing the tooth root which can make teeth sensitive. Chewing on pens and pencils is also harmful to the teeth, as it brings bacteria into the mouth. Explain the dangers of chewing on inanimate objects to your child to encourage them to break the habit.
While it’s normal for babies to suck their thumb, it isn’t a good habit once permanent teeth start to come in. Children who suck their thumb are more likely to develop an overbite and have misaligned teeth, which can cause speech problems and difficulty eating. If your child continues to suck their thumb after age 4, which is when permanent teeth start to break through, talk to your dentist.
To learn more about our Pediatric Dentistry services, contact us at 212-879-6518. We look forward to hearing from you!