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Dr. Maria Luong Weighs in on Children’s Dental Health: Good and Bad Habits

Originally published on demotix.com

Parents are often concerned with the dental health of their children; they want to teach them good habits and discourage bad ones from developing. The following suggestions from Dr. Maria Luong of Serenity Dentistry Spa may be just what the dentist ordered for your children.

 

Start Good Habits Before Baby Teeth Appear
 

Babies get used to the feeling of a clean mouth when parents brush their gums with a gentle baby brush or a soft cloth. Be sure no juice, milk, or formula is left on your baby’s gums before he or she falls asleep. If your baby needs liquid before bedtime, provide water instead. Once your baby’s teeth come in, brush them with a soft brush and a tiny smear of a dentist-recommended toothpaste. Your little one’s first pediatric dentist appointment should be planned around the time of his or her first birthday in order to establish a foundation for consistent oral healthcare.

 

Good Dental Habits for Children
 

Brushing twice a day is one of the first habits your children should learn. As your children begin to make some of their own food choices, be sure they understand which foods are good for their oral health and which foods can be detrimental. Dr. Maria Luong suggests these snacks as a tasty alternative to tooth-damaging sweets:

  • Apples help clean the teeth, fight bad breath, and are a healthy alternative to sweet snacks.
  • Bananas contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for teeth. Although bananas contain natural sugars, they do not stick to the teeth.
  • Carrots are a crunchy snack that helps clean teeth.
  • Additionally, water should be the beverage of choice rather than sugary juices and soda.

Teach children to brush properly and floss from an early age. Toddlers need their parents’ help to accomplish these tasks, but will eventually be able to care for their teeth by themselves. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting many American children; however, parents can play a critical role in decreasing the prevalence of tooth decay by instilling good dental habits from an early age.

 

Bad Dental Habits for Children

Children are at risk of developing detrimental oral health habits due to various reasons. Children are easily coerced and are subject to peer pressure from a young age. They want to do everything their friends do, and for young children, that often means eating candy or drinking soda. Children should be taught to avoid these things whenever possible and gently reminded when necessary. Dr. Maria Luong lists a few common bad habits, including:

  • Bottles at bedtime
  • Chewing ice
  • Drinking soda and other sugary drinks especially at bedtime
  • Eating gummy candy
  • Eating sweets too often and in large quantities
  • Eating potato chips
  • Using teeth as a tool to open things
  • Chewing on pencils, plastic pens, or any non-food items
Parents’ Responsibilities

Parents play a major role in helping children establish good dental habits. Teach them consistent, healthy dental habits when they are young, and supervise them while they are learning to brush and floss. Ask children to help pick out healthy snacks at the grocery store. In addition, explain how important it is to go to the dentist regularly in order to keep their teeth healthy and their smiles beautiful.

No child has flawless oral health practices, but attentive parents will notice right away when a bad habit becomes serious. It’s important to instill good habits from an early age to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong into adulthood.

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