If you’ve already taught your child the basics of dental hygiene (brushing, flossing, rinsing), it’s important that you continue to teach them other healthy habits at home. Dr. David Moore shares three tips for boosting dental hygiene outside of the pediatric dentist’s office:
3 Tips for Protecting Healthy Dental Hygiene
There are a few habits or tendencies that we may not realize our children do – and we do – that can lead to dental issues down the road:
Without thinking, a lot of parents offer a bite of their food to your child from their fork or spoon. Or maybe you use their utensils to test if their food is cooled down enough. While it may seem harmless, sharing utensils can lead to cavities for your child. Bacteria that cause cavities can be passed through saliva. Make sure your child uses their own utensils throughout the entirety of a meal.
Chewing on nonfood items and ice
It’s instinctual for babies and toddlers to put things in their mouth and to suck or chew on them. This is their way of learning about the world around them. However, this habit should be broken as soon as possible. As kids grow older, they have a tendency to chew on items just as pencils or pens. This is not only harmful to the structure of their teeth, but it can affect the spacing and growth of their teeth as well. You should also remind your children not to chew ice. Chewing ice can damage tooth enamel, as well as cause cracks or chips in teeth.
Brushing teeth too hard
If your child brushes their teeth and gums too hard, they can cause what is known as toothbrush abrasion. This abrasion causes grooves in the teeth and gum recession. If your child continues brushing too hard, the abrasions become wider and deeper. Eventually, they enter the layer under the enamel, known as dentin. Dentin is yellow, sensitive, and home to several painful nerve endings. Even just air hitting the affected area could cause pain.
Don’t forget about teens
For parents of teenagers, it’s important that you don’t forget about their dental health even though they are more independent than children. Oftentimes, teens begin to neglect good dental hygiene habits because they do not realize the consequences if they’ve never had a cavity or other issues before. Remind your teens to practice healthy oral hygiene habits and ensure they’re visiting the dentist regularly.