6 Terrible Dental Habits That Kids Should Break Today

6 Terrible Dental Habits That Kids Should Break Today
Posted on 06/28/2017
6 Terrible Dental Habits That Kids Should Break Today

All parents want their kids to have healthy teeth and gums. That's why endless hours go into making dental care more fun, and moms and dads strive to motivate their children to brush their teeth for a full two minutes each night. Regular visits to the dentist are also an important part of helping kids attain optimal oral health.

Unfortunately, bad habits can be wreaking havoc on your kids' dental health, and those bad habits may sabotage some of the positive things you work hard to teach your kids about dental care. If your kids have any of the following habits, try to get them to stop right away. If you struggle with getting kids to stop, address it at your children's next dental appointment.

Bad Habit #1: Biting Their Fingernails

Many children develop the bad habits of biting their fingernails. Although it's common, it is no less terrible for little ones' teeth. If kids bite their fingernails, they increase their risk of chipping, cracking or simply wearing down their teeth. This habit can also place them at a greater risk for bruxism. If your children have braces, they may be at an even greater risk of tooth loss.

Other potential problems that can be caused by the nail-biting habit include damage to the gum tissue if the sharp fingernails scratch or tear it. Bacteria can also spread to the mouth from other parts of the body since few, if any, kids, would brush fingernails before biting. Immediately let your children know that they need to refrain from biting their fingernails if you catch them at it.

Bad Habit #2: Playing Ball Without a Mouth Guard

Children should always wear a mouth guard when playing a contact sport, or they can wind up with cracked or missing teeth. Mouth guards are a must even if kids are just playing a practice game without the coach supervising. In fact, protection may be especially needed then. Make sure that your kids know about the importance of wearing a mouth guard every single time they play.

Bad Habit #3: Sucking on Lollipops and Hard Candy

Sucking on hard candy is something nearly any kid would enjoy. Lollipops and other hard candy come in tasty, tempting flavors, and children can enjoy the flavors over time by sucking on them. The sugar in the candy can react to the plaque on your teeth, and the resulting acid can eat at tooth enamel.

No children should have to resist all the time, but hard candy should be a rare treat. When kids do indulge, be sure that they brush their teeth not long after their sweet treat.

Bad Habit #4: Using Teeth to Open Bags and Packaging

Sometimes kids can watch adults use their teeth to open potato chip bags and complicated packaging on groceries, and they may start to do the same. They may try to use their teeth as tools to help them open snacks or toys. If you notice your kids doing this, quickly explain that this habit can damage their teeth and offer an alternative way to open difficult packages.  

Bad Habit #5: Chewing on Ice as a Snack

Stop your kids from chewing on ice after they finish their beverage. According to the American Dental Association, tooth enamel is a crystal, and ice is a crystal, too. Therefore, the two do not go well together. One is bound to break if your kids frequently chew on ice. If it's their teeth, that can result in a lot of pain and permanent damage to teeth.

Both the cool temperature of the ice and its hard surface can cause damage. If telling your kids to stop chewing on ice doesn't do the trick, serve them chilled beverages without ice and encourage drinking through a straw. Make sure that they know chewing on ice is not okay. Set a good example by refraining from chewing on ice, too.

Bad Habit #6: Brushing Their Teeth Too Roughly

Yes, every parent wants their little ones to be enthusiastic about brushing their teeth. They try to impart their wisdom about brushing teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. However, if kids are brushing their teeth too rigorously, they can damage both their teeth and gums. It's best to brush teeth thoroughly but gently, and buy soft-bristle toothbrushes for children.

Finally, try to focus on helping your children establish good dental care practices and try to guide them away from forming bad habits that can wreck their teeth. It may be an ongoing process to help kids learn and maintain optimal dental care practices, but your ongoing attention and guidance is exactly what little ones need.

Your kids' dentist also serves as their ally in optimal oral health. At Treasured Smiles Dentistry, your children can enjoy going to a specialized pediatric dentist who is focused on their needs. With the attention and care designed just for children, you and your kids' dentist can help set them up to enjoy healthy, happy smiles throughout their lives.