July 14, 2021
Debunking 6 Common Myths About Children’s Teeth
A child’s smile is continuously evolving and changing throughout their childhood. From their first tooth to their first permanent molar, there are so many changes that occur as your child grows up. Unfortunately, several misconceptions are floating around about children’s dentistry that can get in the way of a healthy grin. Read along as we debunk six of the most common myths.
Baby Teeth Don’t Matter
Some people believe that baby teeth don’t matter since “they’re going to fall out anyway” – but this is far from the truth. In fact, primary teeth play a much more essential role than you may think! They help children eat and speak properly while preserving facial structure and acting as placeholders for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, either from injury or decay, it can cause surrounding teeth to shift, potentially blocking out future adult teeth and making them come in crooked or become impacted.
Baby Teeth Erupt at 6 Months Old
Actually, baby teeth can erupt as early as three months or as late as fourteen months. But there’s no telling when exactly they’ll come in as it varies from child to child. However, their journey starts far earlier than that. The primary teeth begin developing within the sixth and eighth week of fetal development and are already present in the jaw at birth!
Children Should Never Chew Gum
False! Chewing sugar-free gum can actually be good for your child’s teeth, as it increases saliva production and helps keep cavities away. Plus, without sugar, the bacteria won’t produce enough acids to cause damage to their teeth.
Cavities Are Only Caused by Sugar
Contrary to popular belief, sugar is not the main culprit behind cavities. Starchy foods, like chips and crackers, can increase the amount of plaque in your mouth and lead to tooth decay and cavities. Children must brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup.
It’s Not Safe for Kids to Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Did you know tooth decay is possible as soon as the first tooth erupts? Luckily, you can prevent cavities with fluoride toothpaste. Since small children are likely to swallow toothpaste, it’s recommended to only use about the size of a grain of rice for kids 2 and younger. If your child is 3 or older, and can spit when brushing, you can use a pea-sized amount.
Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking Will Ruin My Child’s Smile
Sucking is a natural reflex in babies – they even suck their thumb or fingers in the womb! So, it’s completely OK for newborns and infants to use a pacifier. In addition to helping babies self-soothe, pacifiers also decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Most children will stop sucking on their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of two and four. It’s only an area of concern if the habit continues past the age of four, as it can cause changes in the roof of the mouth and alignment issues.
Now that we’ve cleared up some common misconceptions, you can help your child develop good dental habits from an early age and set them down the right path towards a happy, healthy life!
About the Practice
At Dix Hills Dentistry, you can expect dedicated and skilled care that goes above and beyond your expectations. From dental implants to teeth whitening to children’s dental checkups, we offer services the entire family can enjoy! Our pediatric dentist can help your children achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles. For more information about children’s dentistry, visit our website or call (631) 673-8040.
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