Childhood Habits That Can Cause Dental Problems
Children sometimes have habits that differ from those of adults. Here are a few childhood habits that can cause problems with the teeth.
Drinking From A Bottle
Children should be weaned from a bottle as soon as possible. However, some children come to rely on a bottle to soothe them during periods of stress or to help them fall asleep more easily. When a bottle contains anything other than water, the contents can promote tooth decay.
Some children who drink from bottles regularly develop a serious type of tooth decay called baby bottle decay. The condition can cause the teeth to become so decayed that large areas of the tooth material turn black.
Drinking from a bottle allows liquids to rest in the mouth longer than they would if a child were drinking from a cup. Additionally, the use of a bottle during bedtime promotes the pooling of liquids in the mouth, leaving the teeth immersed in the bottle's contents for long periods.
Eating Large Amounts of Candy
Many children enjoy the sweet flavor of candy. Still, the primary ingredient in most candies is sugar. Oral microbes metabolize simple sugars and release acids as chemical byproducts of their digestion. The acids dissolve important minerals that make up the tooth enamel, weakening the tooth material and causing cavities to form.
Thus, the amount of candy that a child eats should be minimized. If the child desires something sweet, parents can exchange the candy for a sugar-free alternative, such as sugar-free candy or sugarless gum.
Sucking Thumbs or Fingers
Some children regularly suck their thumbs or fingers as a soothing mechanism. Even though the practice may not promote tooth decay, it can cause dental misalignment. That's because the thumbs or fingers place consistent pressure on the central incisors. This pressure can eventually cause issues with the child's bite.
Parents can discourage thumb or finger sucking by coating the child's thumbs or fingers with a distasteful substance. Additionally, they can offer the child sugarless gum or other harmless substances to occupy their mouth.
Playing Contact Sports
Children often participate in sporting activities that have a high incidence of injury. An errant ball or a hard fall could easily dislodge a tooth. Still, active play promotes healthy bodies. As such, rather than discouraging participation in contact sports, parents can provide their youngsters with shock-absorbent mouthguards to protect their teeth during play.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area. They can provide more information regarding pediatric dentistry.