March 7, 2022

Kids pick up bad habits that can compromise the appearance and function of their teeth. Luckily, an expert in family dentistry in Hialeah can help you promote healthy dental habits for your child from day one. For now, you’ll want to keep an eye out for quirks and correct them before they cause tooth decay, cavities, misalignments, and other oral health issues.  

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Get Your Child to Stop These Bad Dental Habits

Bad Habit #1: Sucking a Baby Bottle at Naptime and Bedtime

Prolonged exposure to milk or sugary liquid leads to a particular form of tooth decay in very young children called baby bottle syndrome. Sugar from the milk or juice will stay on the surface of their teeth and eat away at the enamel over time. If you don’t want your child to have pitted and discolored teeth, you should think twice before you lull them to sleep with a baby bottle full of milk or sugary liquid.

Bad Habit #2: Sipping Sweetened Liquids on a Sippy Cup All Day  

Once your little one graduates to a sippy cup, don’t let them carry it around all day. Their saliva won’t have a chance to wash away the sugars that lead to tooth decay if they constantly sip milk or sweetened liquid all day.  

For this reason, it’s best to limit their sippy cups to mealtime and snack time. Don’t forget to have them drink and rinse their mouth with water after sipping on their sippy cup.  

Bad Habit #3: Prolonged Pacifier Use

Sucking on a pacifier is a normal habit for healthy babies. However, pacifying into the toddler years can interfere with your child’s normal tooth and jaw development.  

Unless your child gradually stops using a pacifier around the age of one, their teeth have a higher chance of becoming crooked and slanted. In addition, prolonged pacifier use will affect the jaw’s alignment.

Bad Habit #4: Thumb Sucking

Although a little thumb sucking is normal for babies and small children, this habit becomes a problem once permanent teeth start coming in between the ages of four and six.  

If your child doesn’t grow out of thumb sucking by age four, this habit can cause problems with the proper development of their teeth, jaw, and palate.  

Bad Habit #5: Nibbling on Fingernails

Did you know that around 30% to 60% of children and teens bite their fingernails? Besides increasing a child’s risk of chipping, cracking, and wearing down their teeth, nail-biting also predisposes them to bruxism or unintentional teeth grinding. In turn, bruxism leads to tooth sensitivity, sore jaws, headaches, facial pain, and fatigue.  

Additionally, kids who develop this bad habit are likely to damage their gum tissue if their sharp fingernails scratch it. Bacteria can also spread from the fingernails to the mouth.  

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Bad Habit #6: Playing Contact Sports Without a Mouthguard

If your child regularly engages in contact sports, they should always wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards are oral appliances worn over the top row of your child’s teeth during sports. Moreover, they protect against oral injuries that lead to cut lips, fractured or missing teeth, and other damage to the mouth.

Bad Habit #7: Using Teeth as Tools

Since teeth aren’t designed to grip and hold onto things, using them to open a bag of chips or another complicated packaging on groceries will wreak havoc on them. Besides increasing the risk of causing damage to their teeth, this habit may even cause your child to accidentally scratch or tear their gum tissue.  

Moreover, using their teeth as tools may even place your child at a greater risk of choking or severe injury if they fall while holding something in their mouth.

Bad Habit #8: Chewing on Ice

Enamel is a tough protective crystal shell covering the visible part of the teeth. Since ice is also a crystal, the two won’t go well together. If your child chews on ice as a snack, the hard surface of the ice and its cool temperature can cause their teeth to crack.  

Bad Habit #9: Sucking on Hard Candy and Lollipops

No child would say no to hard candy and lollipops. Since they come in tasty and tempting flavors, most kids could suck on them all day unless you tell them not to.  

Unfortunately, the sugar in the candy reacts to the plaque on your child’s teeth and produces acid that eats away at their tooth enamel. There’s nothing wrong with giving your child an occasional sweet treat. However, be sure that they brush their teeth after enjoying it to prevent tooth decay and cavities.  

Bad Habit #10: Swallowing Toothpaste  

Since fluoride is a natural cavity fighter, most family dentists suggest fluoride supplements starting at six months old. However, too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis. This condition creates white or brown spots on your child’s teeth.  

For this reason, it’s important to teach your little one not to swallow the gooey fluoride toothpaste, even if it’s fun to play with. If your child isn’t old enough to spit after brushing their teeth, be sure to use non-fluoride toothpaste for kids’ teeth. It’s also best to talk to your family dentist about fluoride supplements to ensure that your child gets the right amount.

Bad Habit #11: Brushing Their Teeth Too Rigorously

While you would want your child to be enthusiastic about brushing their teeth, you’ll have to teach them how to brush each tooth thoroughly but gently. Additionally, be sure that they’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush for children. When your child’s vigorous brushing is paired with abrasive bristles, they could end up pushing back their gums and wearing down their enamel.

Bad Habit #12: Skipping Regular Dental Appointments  

The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist within six months after their first tooth emerges and no later than their first birthday. During this first dental visit, the family dentist will assess tooth decay risk, look for signs of other oral issues, and teach you how to clean your baby’s teeth.

Your little one should continue to have regular check-ups every six months. However, if they’re at increased risk of tooth decay, they should visit the dentist more often.  

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Are You Looking for an Expert in Family Dentistry in Hialeah?

At Best Dentistry Miami, we’re here to provide you and everyone in your household with personalized care for your specific needs. We offer family dentistry services to keep you smiling with confidence. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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