Every parent wants the best for their child and with regular brushing and family dentistry visits most parents feel they are doing their best for their child’s oral health. But did you know that some innocent actions can have negative consequences on your child’s teeth? Here are five of the biggest mistakes parents make that impact on the oral health of children.
Mistake #1 – bottles at bedtime
Giving a bottle of milk or juice at bedtime may help to ensure sweet dreams for you and your child, but it can lead to tooth decay. The sugar in these comfort beverages can impact the health of your child’s teeth. If a bottle is required at bedtime, try to water the milk or juice down in stages until your child is consuming only water prior to sleep.
Mistake #2 – offering “healthy” food
Certain foods that contain healthy components for growing children can also contain large quantities of sugar. These include stickier or sugar-concentrated foods such as raisins and muesli bars. It is important to ensure that your child’s teeth are carefully brushed after the consumption of very sweet foods even if they are considered heath foods.
Mistake #3 – hydrating with sports drinks
Sports drinks may seem like a great way to replenish lost liquid and electrolytes throughout sport training and games, but they often contain excessive amounts of sugar. Switch to water or offer just a small amount of sports drinks and provide water afterwards.
Mistake #4 – letting your child brush alone
It is optimal for a child’s development if they are given a degree of independence whilst brushing. However, always ensure that you are present during the brushing process to assist your child to brush in the hard to reach places. Up until about 8 years old, supervision whilst brushing is advised.
Mistake #5 – delaying the first dental appointment
Children as young as 2 years of age can develop tooth decay. Start dental appointments at a family dentistry office early in your child’s life to ensure that their teeth are maintained and that they are familiar with your dentist and dental office. Schedule your child’s first dentist visit around the time of their first birthday and keep visiting every 6 to 12 months for regular check-ups.