The Three Most Common Harmful Oral Health Habits for Kids

Today, Dr. Peter Markov, a pediatric dentist and owner of VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA, shares common harmful oral health habits many parents are guilty of and his best advice for proper pediatric oral care.

#1 Wrong toothpaste

An often-easy mistake to make is using the wrong toothpaste. Although this can take a while to show effects, it will definitely take its toll on teeth in the long run. The toothpaste aisle can be overwhelming with so many options but the main two things you want to look for include the ADA (American Dental Association) stamp of approval and to make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride.

#2 No Mouthguard?!

There’s no excuse for your child not to wear a mouthguard while playing sports. Even though mouthguards may not be the coolest fashion accessory, it does prevent teeth from being knocked out, chipped or damaged. When a child is in mixed dentition (Usually from age 7-12), they are undergoing quite a bit of change in their mouth. While custom mouthguards are thinner and more comfortable, they are also much more costly.

We usually recommend getting a less expensive moldable mouthguard and changing it every season or every other sport (otherwise you will be getting custom guards every 6 months) while a child is at this age to protect their teeth without breaking the budget.

#3 Chewing On Everything In Sight. Teeth Are Not Scissors!

While kids are bored, they tend to chew on anything in site including nails, pencils and paper clips. This might satisfy your child’s tactile sensations, but it’s a fast way to cause damage to teeth. An easy alternative that you can give your child is a gum that’s sugar-free and contains xylitol. This can help satisfy their attention and prevent nasty habits from developing. For more information, please read this article on tips for teething.

Never let your children open packages with their teeth - it will break down their tooth enamel and can lead to chipping or fractures. Although this sounds like common sense, you’d be surprised how many children use their teeth to open packages, wrappers, or cans. Although it may not cause damage every time, there is the potential it chips a tooth.

About the Author: Dr. Peter Markov is passionate about children and children’s oral health. He firmly believes that prevention is best when it comes to kids' dentistry and hopes this post helps you make educated and healthy oral health decisions. His practice, VK Pediatric Dentistry, provides comfortable, convenient, and quality kids dentistry for infants, toddlers, children, and teens in Arlington, Mclean, Falls Church, Alexandria, and the surrounding cities of Northern Virginia.

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