Children’s Habits to Break for Better Dental Health

child sucking thumbEncouraging a good dental hygiene routine for your child is crucially important, but what about what you should be encouraging them not to do? Here are 4 common habits in children that you’ll want to help them break now so that they will enjoy better dental health for years to come.

Not Brushing Regularly

Needless to say, allowing children to slack on important habits like brushing teeth for two minutes twice a day and following up with floss will only serve as a detriment to their dental health as they grow older. Encourage your children to give their teeth a deep yet gentle brushing for at least two minutes twice a day and to follow up their brushing at least once a day with flossing. It’s also a good idea when they’re old enough to encourage them to use an alcohol-free mouthwash during their dental care routine. Many dental products such as fun electric toothbrushes and specially flavored flosses are available today that are geared toward children and helping them develop healthy oral hygiene habits.

Thumb Sucking

Children tend to suck their thumbs from a young age because it helps them feel more secure, but by the time they reach about 5 years of age, and when their adult teeth start coming in, it’s time to help them break the habit. Thumb sucking can cause overbites in the mouth, teeth tipping toward the lip, and misalignment of teeth. It can even interfere with proper jaw alignment and cause malformation at the roof of the mouth.

Snacking on Sugary Foods

Snacking on sugary foods between meals is especially harmful for teeth because the sugars and acids from those foods have a tendency to stick around in the mouth, breeding bacteria that will work to break down tooth enamel. If your children are going to enjoy a sugary treat every now and then, aim for them having it at meal times, or at the very least pair the treat with plenty of water to help flush enamel-harming sugars and acids out of the mouth.

Biting on Non-Food Items

This is a habit even with adults, who use their teeth to open lids, rip tags from clothing, and tear open snack bags. Children also have a tendency to use teeth for purposes other than chewing food and to place non-food items such as small toys in the mouth. With this comes the risk of chipping, cracking, or even breaking teeth, so putting any sort of non-food item in the mouth should be discouraged.