Know the Risks, Not the Myths: The Truth About Children’s Oral Health

young boy having his teeth cleaned at the dentist
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Observing proper dental hygiene is an integral part of a person’s overall health that should start at an early age. As parents, it’s your responsibility to make sure your children understand the importance of good dental care by teaching them the right ways to take care of their teeth. Not only will this help prepare them for a lifetime of oral health, but it will also help you save a lot of money on dental bills.

However, there are many misconceptions about proper dental hygiene among children. So, parents need to be extra careful. Here are some of the three most common myths and the truth behind them:

Myth #1 – Baby teeth cavities aren’t a big problem, as they will eventually fall out anyway.

While it’s a fact that none of the child’s twenty primary teeth will live into their teenage years, it’s still essential to properly take care of them to make sure the 32 permanent teeth will grow healthy, straight, and shiny. If the roots of your baby’s teeth are in a healthy condition, they will serve as a guide in making sure the permanent teeth grow correctly. If your baby’s tooth has decay, the bacteria could potentially pass to the permanent teeth in the gums, which means they could be affected even before they surface. The worst part is that this could also spread to the other parts of the body through the gum’s tissue and saliva.

Myth #2 – It’s all right to give sugary treats as long as your child brushes their teeth right after.

mom and dan brushing teeth with daughterMany parents believe giving their children sugary treats are fine as long as they tell their children to brush their teeth right away, as this will immediately get rid of the traces of sugar. However, this is the worst time to clean the teeth. After consuming sugary treats, the tooth enamel becomes soft and vulnerable due to the acids present in these treats. Brushing can then cause this hard outer layer to wear away, which in turn will make the teeth sensitive and discolored. Children’s dentists recommend waiting at least an hour before brushing the teeth. This will give the child’s saliva enough time to neutralize the acids inside the mouth and re-harden the enamel.

Myth #3 – Instead of chocolates, dried fruits are the healthier choice.

For many generations, parents believed that it’s safe for their children to snack on dried fruits such as raisins instead of chocolates and sweets. However, just because they’re technically fruits doesn’t mean they’re the healthier option. They’re the worst enemy of teeth, as they’re packed with sugar and are so sticky that they stay on the teeth longer, causing more damage to the enamel.

So, while it’s still not recommended to let children eat as much chocolate as they can, they are still the safer choice dentally, as they are easier and faster to wash away. If you need to treat your kids with some snacks, offer them other alternatives such as cheese, toasts, breadsticks, nuts or seeds.