Dental Care For Kids: 5 Common Myths About Kid’s Teeth
If you’re a parent, you need to properly care for your children’s teeth. There are some common myths out there we’re dispelling here for your family’s health.
Your child’s perception of and attitude toward dental hygiene starts early, and can affect them the rest of their life. Dental care for kids is important, and often misunderstood.
Cove Dental is here to help.
But, do you know what good dental habits are for your kids? Here are the top five common misconceptions about what’s happening in your child’s mouth.
1. Fruit does a body good, and your teeth, too. Right?
Everyone knows that fruit is good for you. It’s an important source of vitamin C, potassium and other things your body needs. But, it’s also high in sugar! While fruit in moderation is part of a healthy diet, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The sugar and acids in the fruit will continue to eat away at your child’s teeth (and your own!), for up to thirty minutes after eating. This is especially true if the fruit was eaten by itself as a snack.
- Dried fruit can be worse than chocolate. At least as far as your teeth are concerned. Snacks like raisins can cling to tooth surfaces much longer than a chocolate treat, and continue eating away at the enamel.
- Fruit juice is just as bad as fizzy soft drinks, in terms of both sugar and acid. Some acids in fruits can be as harsh as battery acid. Having a juice box always at the ready is an easy choice, but it isn’t always a healthy choice for your child’s teeth.
But, fruit snacks should be ok if my child brushes immediately afterward, right?
No. The folks at Mayo Clinic even suggest waiting to brush up to 30 minutes after eating, especially acidic foods. Your tooth enamel is temporarily weakened, and you could do more harm than good.
2. Water is water and is still OK even with a sugar-free flavoring.
It’s easy to grab a bottle of water at the grocery store or even a thirty pack at a big box chain. It’s just water, right? Fluoride is an important component of tap water, and something your child may be missing out on if you regularly reach for a bottle instead of a glass.
Many parents say that their kids balk at drinking just plain water, so they add fruit flavorings. This is the same problem created by fruit juice (even if the flavoring is sugar-free). Your child’s teeth are awash in artificial chemicals and colorings, all doing harm to sensitive surfaces.
Don’t forget the fluoride toothpaste, either. For a little one under 3 years of age, a bit of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice is enough. Kids over 3, pea-sized is plenty! Some popular brands even have kid’s toothpaste flavors other than mint, to help encourage letting it stick around.
And unlike having a drink of water to rinse away a sugary treat, toothpaste shouldn’t be rinsed away after brushing. It leaves behind some additional fluoride protection, so hold the rinse cup!
3. Genetics are the cause of “bad” teeth.
Unlike hair color or even eyesight, the sturdiness of your teeth isn’t inherited from your parents. In fact, nearly 100% of cavities can be prevented with good habits, including brushing and a healthy diet.
“Soft” teeth aren’t a thing, either. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body! But once it’s damaged, enamel can’t heal like a broken bone, so the effects are often permanent.
We’ve all probably heard the phrase, “sharing is caring”.
But not according to The American Dental Association.
In five tips to prevent kids’ tooth decay, learn why “care don’t share” is their motto.
4. Snacks are as a good as a meal, as long as they’re healthy choices.
Kids can be finicky eaters. Some days, vegetables are great, and some…well, let’s just say they’re not so great. Sometimes, getting kids to sit down to a meal can be an uphill battle.
But if your kids are snacking constantly, there’s another battle going on.
Their teeth are being constantly assaulted by sugar and acid. And the assault is renewed with every bite of fruit, cracker, or granola bar.
While allowing your child to graze may seem like a good solution to a meal time tantrum, it can be very hard on their teeth. Try to limit snacks to twice a day.
5. They’re just baby teeth, it doesn’t matter how they’re taken care of.
Your child’s first teeth, or “milk teeth”, play an important role in the future of their smile. While most people refer to them as “baby” teeth, they can be in your child’s mouth until the age of 12!
Here’s what can happen if you don’t take proper care of your child’s baby teeth:
- If there are cavities in baby teeth, that same bacteria can also eat away at permanent teeth
- If baby teeth come out too early, it can cause issues with the spacing of permanent teeth
Taking care of baby teeth is just as important as adult teeth, and in some cases, even more important!
This isn’t the end of the “Kids Dental Care” story
While these are just five of the myths about kids’ dental health, you may still have questions:
- When should I bring my child in for the first visit?
- If my child only has two teeth, do I need to floss them?
- My child is active and loves sports, and knocked out a baby tooth. Should I have her other teeth checked?
Or, what about your own dental care?
- Are your teeth sensitive to cold?
- Maybe your smile isn’t as white as you’d like it to be?
How we can help
At Cove Dental, Dr. Waites and his staff use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to help keep your whole family’s smile bright.
Whether it’s your child’s first dental visit or your 51st cleaning, Dr. Waites is here to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable. It’s important to establish a relationship of trust with your dentist, and Dr. Waites has been described as comforting and professional by his patients.
Schedule your appointment today using our short online form, or call us at 256.880.7957. We look forward to taking care of you in our impressive new facility.