About 20% of children between that ages of 5-11 have at least one decayed tooth. Childhood can be a time when you learn the worst of what can happen to your teeth firsthand or a time when lifelong positive health habits develop. In order to ensure that your children have a healthy set of teeth, we have provided a guide on what your children should avoid.
Using Your Teeth to Open Food and Drinks
Little children often lack the strength to open packaging on their own. Bottles, chips, and other items are opened with the mouth. This is a bad idea. This pulls the teeth in unnatural directions, and can result in chipped teeth. Even packaging as innocuous as a plastic bag can cause harm to your child’s teeth. We recommend opening food and drinks for your child. Their teeth are not tools.
Sports (Without Protection)
Playing sports is one of the most fun parts of growing up. Children enjoy playing sports with their friends. It helps them understand important parts of life like teamwork, sportsmanship, and the value of hard work. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen. A mouth guard helps protect vulnerable teeth against hard floors and concrete. Terrible damage, and pain, occurs when children are hit in the mouth. Ensure that they have a mouth guard when doing physical activities.
Drinking Too Many Soft Drinks
Kids love sugary food and drinks. While this might be ok in small doses, it is crucial for a child’s dental health to limit how much sugar they are taking in. Carbonated drinks are especially bad for children’s oral health. Cold drinks are even worse. A cold, carbonated, sugary drink is a perfect storm for cavities. Try to watch what your children are drinking, and stick to milk and similar beverages.
Between 30% and 60% of elementary school students bite their nails. There may be a few different reasons for a child to be biting his or her nails. Whatever the reason may be, it is bad for your oral health. It can lead to cracks or chips in teeth, and will eventually wear teeth down over time. Additionally, it may also lead to misalignment of the jaw due to the angle that the jaw is at while biting your nails.
Brushing Teeth Wrong
This one is the most important. You want to establish good oral health habits as early as possible, and reinforce them over time. Teach your children to brush their teeth for two minutes. When they are brushing their teeth, it should not be too hard, or your child will wear down the tooth’s natural enamel. It should not be too soft either, unless you want to deal with plaque buildup. Ask your dentist for the proper way to brush your teeth, and how you can engender the proper respect for dental health in your child.
If you have any questions about what kids’ activities could be bad for their teeth, ask your dentist. At SmilesNY, we want you to have a smile that is as healthy and bright as you are.