As a parent, you obviously want to keep your toddler's pearly whites in the best shape possible. To do this, you likely try to care for their teeth by brushing them regularly and limiting your child's intake of sweets. While these are great practices to follow, they are not foolproof in the prevention of cavities. Some seemingly harmless habits can wreak havoc on children's teeth. Below are some of the more common ones.
Bad Habit #1: Failing To Visit the Dentist
Many people don't take their child to the dentist until they are above toddler age. One study found that only 23% of 1-year-olds and 44% of 2-year-olds have seen a dentist before. Despite how common it is for toddlers to have not seen a dentist, it is still vital that your child starts going to one from an early age. Why? For one thing, it introduces them to good dental habits early, so that they're more likely to follow them in later years. For another, taking care of baby teeth helps ensure that adult teeth will come in properly.
Bad Habit #2: Sharing Your Toothbrush
Many parents brush their child's teeth with the same toothbrush that they themselves use. While this may seem like a harmless habit, it can actually spread bacteria to their child's teeth, leading to tooth decay. For this reason, you should make sure to use a separate toothbrush than your own for your child's teeth. If your child has siblings, you should also make sure that they each use their own toothbrushes.
Similarly, you will want to avoid sharing forks, spoons, and pieces of food with your child. Any spread of saliva can contribute to tooth decay in children. For this reason, taking care of your own teeth can help protect your child's as well. Make sure to go to your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
Bad Habit #3: Letting Your Child Sleep with a Bottle of Milk or Juice
Some parents give their children a bottle or sippy cup when they go to bed at night. While this might seem like an effective way of calming them down, it can actually lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay results when sugary drinks stay on a child's teeth too long, creating the ideal environment for bacteria. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, you should encourage your child to finish their milk or juice before bedtime. If they want something to drink at night, water could make a great substitute for more sugary drinks.
If you avoid the above habits, you can help prevent your child from developing some of the most common infant dental problems. For more advice on keeping your toddler's teeth healthy, consult a dentist from a company like Southdale Dental Office.