"It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them." -Benjamin Franklin
We all love our children more than anything else in the world; however, especially in younger children, there are some bad habits for oral health that you want to avoid if at all possible.
1) Thumb Sucking: Although natural in young children, this is a habit you want to break as early as possible because thumb sucking can actually cause misalignment in adult teeth. 🏼
2) Candy eating: Although this isn’t particularly necessary advice, avoid feeding your children candy on a regular basis. If you want to give them a treat, there is candy made with Xylitol, a natural sweetener that kids love!
3) Sippy Cups/ Bottles: Babies can actually suffer from something that the ADA calls “bottle mouth” which is decay in at least the two front two teeth due to over-exposure to drinks in bottles other than milk or water. Same goes for sippy cups; when a toddler is allowed a sippy cup throughout the day doesn’t give your child’s saliva a change to rinse away the bacteria that is the root cause for tooth decay and cavities. Some sippy cups even come with a warning about the tooth decay that they can cause! Because of this, limit your child’s sippy cup interaction to meal times whenever possible.
4) Pacifiers: Very similar to above, pacifiers are okay for a little while but not recommended for use past age 1!
5) Nail Biting: According to the AGD, around 50% of children bite their nails and it is so, so bad for their teeth; in fact, it can actually lead to teeth grinding which can cause facial pain and TMJ later in life.
As with all habits, you should lead by example. “Monkey see, monkey do”? No, more like “baby see, baby do”. If you have a bad habit of eating candy and biting your nails? It is a lot more likely your children will too.
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