Baby teeth are often associated with folklore. Many cultures have some version of the tooth fairy, after all. Coupled with the fact that children’s smiles are constantly changing, this means that a lot of misconceptions surround kids’ teeth. How can you separate fact from fiction and know how to best care for your little one’s growing smile? Read on as a family dentist in Marlton dispels three of the most common children’s dental health myths!
Myth #1: Baby Teeth Don’t Need to Be Brushed
If the baby teeth are just going to fall out eventually, there’s no point in brushing them, right? Actually, the primary teeth play a more important role than looking adorable in your child’s smile. They help your son or daughter chew healthy foods and even aid in speech development.
What’s more, the primary teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost to decay too early, the adjacent teeth will gradually drift in an attempt to fill the empty space. When the permanent tooth erupts, it may not have room to do so properly. It might grow in crooked, meaning your child could need orthodontic treatment.
To prevent this, it’s crucial to make sure your child’s teeth are brushed at least twice a day.
Myth #2: Young Kids Can Brush Their Own Teeth
Just because preschoolers can technically brush their teeth doesn’t mean they’re always doing a thorough job. Most kids don’t have the fine motor skills necessary to brush all surfaces of their teeth until at least age seven or eight. Until then, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your child as they brush and floss. Gently remind them to clean every part of their teeth and praise them when they do – it will create a positive association with oral hygiene that will lead to better oral health as they grow up.
Myth #3: Fruit Juice Isn’t Bad for My Child’s Teeth
Fruit juice might sound healthier than soda, but oftentimes, they both contain similar amounts of sugar. Bacteria in the mouth release acidic waste when they feed on sugar, which erodes tooth enamel and leads to cavities. In fact, many popular beverages for kids, including milk and sports drinks, are quite sugary. The healthiest drink for your little one’s oral health is water, as it’s completely sugar-free and actually washes lingering sugar particles and bacterial acids off of the teeth.
When a child develops good dental habits at a young age, they’ll have a much easier time maintaining a healthy smile as an adult. That’s why it’s important to take your child to their dentist regularly; they’ll be happy to clear up any myths and answer any questions you may have about children’s dental health!
About the Author
Dr. Kristin B. Petulla is a family dentist in Marlton, NJ who proudly treats smiles of all ages at her self-titled dental practice. She provides gentle, personalized children’s dentistry services, including dental sealants to reduce the risk of tooth decay. She’d be more than happy to answer your questions about caring for your child’s smile. You can contact her by visiting her website or by calling (856)-983-4846.