Not Kid-ding: The Things Your Children Do Everyday That Ruin Their Teeth

child smiling with one lost toothIt’s not just eating sweets or refusing to brush teeth that make kids at risk of dental problems. In fact, you may have been seeing them do some teeth-wrecking habits, but never thought twice about it. Here are those unassuming habits that may be ruining your child’s oral health:

Nail Biting

Not only is this gross, but it could also chip the teeth and damage the gums, as the sharp edges of the nails come into contact with those sensitive tissues. What’s worse is kids’ hands aren’t exactly the most sanitary parts of their body. When they put them inside their mouths, they’re exposing themselves to bacteria and other germs. This habit may stem from stress or boredom.

Teach your child to channel these feelings in a healthy way instead. Let’s say, finding activities to be busy at or sharing their anxieties with you.

Thumb Sucking

This is acceptable for babies since it helps them feel more secure, but for toddlers (aged four to six), you may have to get them off the thumbs already. Otherwise, this may cause misalignment in their teeth and changes in their palate.

Some parents do the reward system, giving children a “prize” for not doing the habit when they feel like giving in. Others get the help of a kids’ dentist. Utah health specialists, for instance, explain to kids thoroughly what thumb sucking can do to their teeth. A chat with an expert is sometimes more helpful than a talk with parents. Sometimes, pediatric dentists also recommend using a dental appliance that keeps them from sucking.

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Teeth Grinding

This is harmful to the teeth because it wears away the enamel, increases the risk of tooth sensitivity, and leads to severe pain in the jaw and face over time. This often goes unnoticed, as it often happens during sleep. Unless you’re sharing the bed with your child, you’ll never know they’re teeth grinding, until they complain about their painful jaws when eating. If they do tell you, your dentist may recommend a special mouth guard to prevent the habit. You would need to ask your child as well what’s bothering them since teeth grinding is often due to stress.

Your child may not be skipping the brushing and the flossing, but if they’re doing these habits, their oral health may be at risk. Discourage these habits to promote better teeth and smiles.