We all have things we do without consciously thinking. Some of them are good, while others impact negatively on us. Most of these habits are from childhood. Therefore, what your child learns at an early age, they might carry on with them to adulthood.
Teaching your child good oral habits will help in maintaining their oral health. If they pick the good ones and avoid bad ones, they will reduce the risks of developing dental issues such as tooth decay, gum diseases, and dental injury.
The several oral habits that you need to teach your child include:
Keeping Their Teeth and Gums Clean
In general dentistry, dentists emphasize prevention. Good oral hygiene is one of the measures that aim to prevent dental issues. Without good oral hygiene, a thin film of bacteria forms around the teeth and gum line and lead to gum infections and tooth decay. Tooth decay progresses to cause cavities and sometimes tooth loss.
Therefore, you should include brushing and flossing daily as well as regular dental exams and cleanings in your child’s oral hygiene routine. You can begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they appear. When the first teeth are erupting, you can use a small clean towel to clean them. As they grow, you can teach them how to brush and floss.
Healthy Diet for Their Teeth
Most kids like eating sugary and sticky foods that put them at risk of developing cavities. Therefore, they ignore what is healthy for your teeth. Our dentist says, “you are what you eat.” What you eat reflects on your health.
For strong and healthy teeth, your child needs to consume foods rich in calcium. Foods rich in calcium include:
By reducing the levels of sugar intake, you reduce the risks of harmful bacteria developing in your mouth.
Regular Drinking of Water
Drinking water helps in washing away debris left on your child’s teeth after eating, thus prevents the multiplication of harmful bacteria in their mouth. Apart from being a good cleaner, water contains natural fluoride that is beneficial to your child’s teeth. Therefore, you should teach them to drink water regularly.
Below are some of the oral habits you should discourage your child:
Chewing Hard Objects
Giving your child hard candy is one way of rewarding them. Also, children tend to put pencils or pencils in their mouths. By chewing on hardy candy, pencils, or pens, they put themselves at risk of chipping or fracturing their teeth.
To avoid risks of chipping or breaking their teeth, you can give them soft candy, including ice cream, as well as discourage chewing pens and pencils.
Brushing Too Hard and Swallowing Toothpaste
Brushing too hard can bruise your gums and allow entry of bacteria causing infections. Also, brushing too hard can damage your child’s teeth’s roots. Therefore, you can teach your child how to brush their teeth gently.
Also, children tend to swallow toothpaste, especially sweet ones. Toothpaste contains fluoride that can be toxic when consumed in large doses. Therefore, you should put them only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for brushing. If they are still infants, you can supervise them when brushing to ensure they don’t swallow toothpaste.
Thumbsucking among kids might seem harmless at first. However, as they grow, the habit can lead to teeth deformities such as protruding towards the front of the mouth. You can discourage your child to stop sucking their thumb.
When they can’t stop sucking their thumb, you can seek help from Dr. Dipika Shah, DDS, LLC, in our dental clinic. The dentist will develop a treatment plan to help your child stop sucking their thumb.
Grinding Their Teeth
Grinding your teeth wear and tear on the enamels. Apart from damaging your child’s enamels, grinding teeth can affect jaws.
If your child tends to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, you can consult with our dentist to see if a mouthguard can help. When wearing the mouthguard, the child will be discouraged to clench their jaw or grind their teeth, thus preventing damage.