Bad Dental Habits Your Kids Need To Break

Posted on: 7 June 2016

No matter how many times parents remind children to brush their teeth before bed, few children love all the work that's involved in taking excellent care of their teeth. In fact, some kids can inadvertently develop some pretty bad dental habits that they need to break right away. If your kids have done the following, be sure to take action to help them develop new, healthier habits.

Drinking Before Bed

The occasional glass of water when a child is really thirsty is okay. However, don't make the sippy cup a typical part of your children's nighttime routine. When kids consume sugary drinks and juices before bed, the sugar from the drinks can contribute to problems like tooth decay. If kids do need to drink before bed, always be sure that they always brush their teeth again afterwards, even if they already brushed them earlier in the evening.

Sucking Their Thumb

Some children have a hard time giving up the self-soothing technique of sucking their thumb. If it continues after the kids turn five, it becomes a bad habit that needs to be broken because it can lead to tooth decay and other oral health issues. Try explaining to children why they need to stop and offer alternative self-soothing techniques. For example, you may state something like, "Instead of sucking your thumb when you feel bad, why don't we talk things out." Every time the child successfully does not resort to sucking their thumb, give them praise and rewards. Also, you may opt to place a band aid on the thumb as a reminder.

Eating the Wrong Types of Snacks

Since it's not practical for most kids to brush their teeth every time they take a bite of something, it's important that their between-meal snacks not be ones that could spell disaster for their dental health. Sugary snacks like candy and beverages like soda should be avoided between meals. It's best to save indulgences like sweets until after a meal where tooth brushing is not far behind.

Finally, instilling good habits is easier than correcting bad ones, but it's possible to switch out bad habits for good ones. Keep in mind that the point is to be making progress and encouraging your child to make better choices. If you find that you're making mistakes yourself, the best thing is to point it out so that you can both learn from the situation. Contact a general dentist for more information.