There are plenty of misconceptions around children’s dental care — to help their children develop healthy adult teeth, parents must constantly discern fact from fiction.
As you worry about the many factors that can impact your child’s health, dental concerns can sometimes end up on the back burner. Too often, parents believe that children’s teeth do not require a regular care routine since baby teeth will fall out eventually. The truth is, maintaining healthy dental habits in childhood is crucial to having strong, cavity-free teeth as an adult.
To clear up the misconceptions surrounding children’s dental care, we’ve compiled some of the common myths about children’s teeth.
- Myth #1: Baby teeth don’t need to be brushed often.
Baby teeth (also known as milk teeth) are small, temporary teeth that begin to develop during infancy. But, just because baby teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they don’t need care. Baby teeth are coated in a thin layer of enamel, making them especially susceptible to cavities and damage.If baby teeth experience decay or encounter damage without treatment, a child’s adult teeth can develop abnormally.
Just like adult teeth, baby teeth should be brushed twice a day — once in the morning, and once before bed. If your child’s teeth are too small to brush with a toothbrush, you can use a clean finger to rub them with toothpaste.
- Myth #2: Teeth don’t need to be cleaned during teething.
Teething is the name for the stage of dental development when baby teeth first begin to emerge. There’s no universal age when teething begins, and it can occur in children as young as three months and as old as a year.
It’s a common misconception that baby teeth don’t need to be cleaned during the teething process. In fact, cleaning teeth in their earliest stage will help your children to develop healthy, well-formed teeth in the future. To clean your child’s teeth during teething, gently dab the emerging teeth with a cold, moist washcloth each night before bedtime.
- Myth #3: Kids should brush their own teeth as soon as they are able.
Many parents believe that as soon as their child is able to hold a toothbrush, they should be able to brush their own teeth. The truth is, young children commonly avoid brushing their teeth properly. Without supervision, bad habits can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
To ensure your child can be a self-sufficient tooth brusher, observe your child while they are brushing their teeth during the first few months. If your child isn’t brushing any hard-to-reach areas (like molars), offer assistance to help them complete their full dental routine.
- Myth #4: Pacifiers will damage children’s teeth.
Many parents mistakenly believe that children shouldn’t suck on pacifiers (or suck their thumbs) because it could lead to misshapen front teeth in adulthood. Fortunately, pacifiers and thumb-sucking only lead to damage if they are chronic habits that last for many years.
If your child insists on sucking on a pacifier to calm down, it is best to allow them to play with the pacifier during a limited period of time each day, like before bedtime. To prevent future jaw issues, make sure to gradually end your child’s pacifier habit by age two.
- Myth #5: Kids don’t need to visit the dentist until they start school.
Many parents are inclined to believe that children don’t really need to visit the dentist until they are around three years old — but this is another myth. To make sure your kids’ teeth are emerging at the right pace, parents should take their kids to the dentist at least twice a year beginning on their first birthday.
Dental tips for new parents
For parents with young children, the idea of taking your infant to the dentist can seem like a major hassle. While it’s true that some kids aren’t too keen on going to the dentist, a good pediatric dentist can make all the difference.
At Espire, we offer a friendly and inviting environment for kids of all ages. With our help, your baby’s teeth can grow healthy and strong.
For children’s dental care in the Denver Metro, request an appointment today. Your child’s dental health is too important to wait!