Busting 5 Common Myths About Kids’ Teeth
Good oral health care is crucial at every age, but it’s especially important during childhood. That’s why it’s critical that parents have accurate information about their kids’ teeth. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about child dental care floating around out there. Whether these myths come from friends, family, or misinformed internet forums, they can be harmful to your child’s dental and overall health. Read on to find out how to separate fact from fiction and ensure the best dental health for your children.
1. Baby Tooth Decay Doesn’t Matter That Much
Let’s get this out there right away– the conditions of your child’s baby teeth DOES matter. In fact, it matters a lot. The logic behind this myth is that baby teeth are going to fall out and be replaced by adult teeth soon enough, so why worry about a cavity here and there?
Well, while it’s certainly true that baby teeth will eventually be replaced, there are many problems with this logic. First, the term ‘baby teeth’ itself can be misleading. The reality is that children usually don’t lose all of these ‘baby teeth’ until they’re about 10-12 years old. That’s a lot of time for your kid to walk around with bad teeth, right? More importantly, decayed baby teeth can lead to several problems when their adult teeth finally come in. This is especially true if a baby tooth has to be extracted or if bacteria gets passed to permanent teeth.
2. My Kids Can Brush Their Own Teeth Once They Turn Five or So
Um, no. As much as we might want our kids to learn to take of their teeth early, the truth is that they lack the dexterity, knowledge, and commitment to brush them properly when they’re five years old. Current wisdom dictates that you brush your kids’ teeth for them until they’re six or seven years old, depending on their maturity. It’s also a good idea to supervise their brushing for a few years after that.
3. My Kid Inherited Their Bad Teeth and There’s Not Much I Can Do About It
This is fatalism at its worst. While a child’s genetic make-up does have an influence on their overall dental health, the impact is actually very small. And even if your child does inherit a tendency toward poor dental health, there’s still a great deal that parents can do to offset its effect. Simply put, a child’s dental health has very little to do with genetics and nearly all cavities can be prevented with proper care. Consult with your local orthodontist or dentist to find out what measures should be taken.
4. Fruit Juice is Good For Your Child’s Dental Health
This is one of the most widely held fallacies out there. It’s also one of the most damaging. Fruit juice might seem like a good idea for your kid’s teeth, but it’s actually just as harmful to them as cola drinks. This is because fruit juice contains extraordinarily high amounts of sugar and acid. It’s recommended that your child drink no more than six ounces of juice per day, and then only at mealtimes.
Between meals, children should only drink water or milk. No matter how much kids love walking around the house with a sippy cup of juice all day, parents need to understand that the fruit juice myth is one of the most harmful ones they can buy into.
5. Kids Should Brush Their Teeth Immediately After Every Meal
It might seem counterintuitive, but brushing your kids’ teeth directly after a meal is actually a bad idea. This myth has been with us for decades, but that doesn’t make it any less harmful. This is especially true if the meal is particularly acidic. Clinical research has shown brushing immediately after mealtime can accelerate the damaging effects that acid can have on enamel and dentin. It’s best to postpone brushing until 45-60 minutes after the meal.