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Our Denver Pediatric Dentist Shares 4 Bad Habits That Harm Your Child’s Teeth

Both parents and pediatric dentists spend countless hours trying to protect the health of their kids’ teeth, but some common bad habits can sabotage some of our efforts! Below are some common bad habits kids of all ages develop that can wreak havoc on their teeth.

Nail Biting

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), about 30 to 60 percent of children and young teens bite their nails. This harmless-seeming habit isn’t just bad for the nails themselves; it can also can cause serious damage to a child’s dental health. Biting down on the tough keratin that makes up fingernails can erode the enamel and strain the jaw, causing bruxism (misalignment) that requires costly orthodontic treatment. Most alarmingly, nail biting introduces harmful bacteria from the child’s fingers into the digestive system.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or other objects help babies feel secure and comforted, and help them learn about the world around them. However, once a child’s permanent teeth start coming in—usually somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6—vigorous thumb sucking can cause a misalignment of the teeth. This in turn can lead to a number of issues, such as difficulty chewing, and negatively impact the way the adult teeth form. Most children will naturally grow out of thumb sucking by the age of 4. However, if your child continues, behavior modification with a reward system will usually break the habit.

Mindless Chewing  

Once your child’s off to school, you may start to see him or her gnawing on a No. 2 pencil—a common dental habit that can be very destructive to teeth. Other children, particularly those with attentive-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or sensory issues associated like autism, may develop an oral fixation that is hard to overcome. If chewing is a problem for your child, try to help him or her develop safe, alternative habits, like chewing sugar-free gum (communicate with teachers and administrators that you are trying to curb another behavior). Although, ideally, we would want children to not chew anything at all, some companies make chewable jewelry that can provide some relief.

Frequent Soda/Juice Drinking

Sugary, carbonated beverages put both adults and kids at a high risk of developing cavities, as the carbonation and acid content erode the teeth, and the sugar attract cavity-causing bacteria. Carbonated sodas are particularly hard on newly erupted infant teeth, which have less protective enamel to erode. Surprisingly, some statistics show that about 20 percent of 1- and 2-year-olds are exposed to these drinks every day. If you’re guilty of letting your child roam the house with a sippy cup of sugary juice or soda, try switching them to a safer, low-sugar alternative before it becomes a lifelong habit.

Need a Pediatric Dentist in Denver NC? Call Denver Pediatric Dentistry

Denver Pediatric Dentistry is a children’s dental practice serving Denver, Rutherfordton, Union, Forest City, and nearby areas. We are dedicated to providing you and your child with a comfortable, kid-friendly experience from the moment you both walk through the door! To request an appointment with our office, please fill out our easy contact form.