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One of the most important skills a child can learn is how to properly clean and care for his or her teeth.

Dental problems cause pain, irritability and overall poor health, good dental care is important for a child’s total health and wellbeing.

To increase the odds that a child will grow up to have good teeth, parents need to make certain to teach children to avoid the most common dental hazards that are most likely to cause problems, these are:

Not Brushing 

Perhaps the greatest dental hazard that children face is not properly brushing their teeth.

Failure to care for teeth from a young age can cause irreparable damage to the teeth.

Even baby teeth need proper dental care as damage to baby teeth can spread to permanent teeth or cause permanent teeth to grow in crooked.

By learning to care for his or her teeth at a young age, a child is more likely to grow into an adult with good dental habits and strong, healthy teeth.

Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal behavior for a baby or other young children. In fact, many babies will suck their thumb before birth.

While thumb sucking is completely normal, it can cause damage to teeth if it continues beyond the age of four.

If a child is sucking his or her thumb after the age of four, the child should see a dentist for an evaluation.

Chewing ice

Chewing ice is a terrible habit due to the likelihood of it damaging teeth.

Not only is ice hard, but it is also cold. The cold temperature of ice can make tooth enamel brittle, causing it to break more easily.

Similarly, chewing on other hard objects, such as metal pens, can also cause damage to a child’s teeth which, may require a visit to the dentist to repair.


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Drinking soft drink

Frequently drinking soft drinks, or other highly sweetened beverages, is one of the worst habits that a child can start.

The combination of sweetness and acidity can cause serious damage to teeth over time.

While drinking soft drinks on occasion is okay, a child needs to learn that it is important to drink water after it to wash it out of the mouth and to properly brush his or her teeth as soon as possible.

Poor diet

Children who eat a poor diet that is high in sugars and carbohydrates may develop poor dental health later in life.

Bacteria in the mouth convert carbs into acids which, can damage teeth.

As with other habits, a child who learns to eat healthy as a youngster is likely to continue eating healthy as an adult.

While most young children get enough calcium by drinking milk, parents need to be certain to encourage older children to consume milk and cheese to get enough calcium to keep teeth strong.

Not using a mouthpiece 

Many children will become interested in sports and other strenuous physical activities as they grow.

These activities can be beneficial for overall health, but many physical activities can result in injuries that damage the teeth.

Fortunately, inexpensive athletic mouthpieces can protect against many of these injuries.

Whether a child enjoys football, soccer, bike riding, skateboarding or other activities, it is essential that the child wear a mouthpiece.

How do you teach your kids good dental hygiene? Love to hear your comments below.

 Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • My little one sucked his thumb, he stopped before he was 2 tho so all good. My kids brushed their teeth twice a day, it was sometimes a struggle, but I always ensured it was done. Now they’ve left home, it’s all forgotten :/ I visit them and am constantly saying, “Have you done your teeth?”

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  • The thumb sucking part is one that’s a major issue for my daughter. Both my wife and I are doing our best in helping her to stop. Since that’s what the pediatric dentist has told us to do as parents that way she it won’t cause any problems with her gums. http://www.dinokidsdds.com/overland-park/

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  • The tip about chewing ice sure got my attention because that’s something that my daughter does often. Wow, no wonder the dentist took me aside and told me how her teeth were getting somewhat chipped. I might as well be the example and help her out in avoiding putting ice in the drinks. http://www.northgatedentalcentre.ca

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  • I never knew chewing ice could be a bad thing???
    wow.

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  • Miss 2 has just had her first dentist review. She has been brushing her teeth since she could sit up. We were told not to use baby/kid toothpaste; so she’s been using normal adult toothpaste. And she watches us brush our teeth so she wants to join in. Especially when she stands on a block and can see herself in the mirror and use the vanity. I’d recommend any parent to take their toddler to the dentist young so they can start off with good memories.

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  • looks good

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  • Such an important topic! My daughter now 3 has been great with her teeth up until now so brushing teeth has become a nightmare

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  • sounds awesome and looks great

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  • looks great

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  • thank you for sharing….this is such an important topic….thanks for the tips! :)

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  • I love this article as i was a dental nurse for 6 years and saw many young kids come in needing fillings or with irreparable teeth that needed to be pulled out! I’m a drill sergeant when it comes to my kids dental hygiene as i never want them to have to hide their beautiful smiles

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  • I use an electric powered toothbrush on my child. I make sure it is used for the whole two minute timer which the toothbrush has.

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  • Another issue with teeth is any medications they have to take for any reasons.
    Mine have been damaged from continuous life saving necessity to take them.
    I am goign to aks my specialist if there is now an alternative medciation that won’t damage my teeth any further than they are now.

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  • One of the better gifts we can give our kids is the skill and habit learning behaviour of regular teeth brushing.

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  • when I was young the dentist scared the hell out of me , but they are pretty much pain free now

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