Tiny Teeth require care, and most parents know it. But are most parents aware of the most basic information about this important feature of their child’s health?
What more can we at Dentistry for Children do to protect parents from misinformation about this important topic? We will try with our two-part series on parent’s worst dental myths, misinformation, and mistakes. You see, tiny teeth do not really come with a user’s manual.
Answering Parents Questions Before They Ask
These two questions inspired us to ask another big question: What if there were an article that featured all the myths and misconceptions about children’s teeth? We wanted such an article to be short, to the point, and easy to read. We know parents are busy people.
Likewise, we want to help parents defend children from common dental mistakes we’ve observed for a quarter of a century.
Thus, we decided just to write an article with that exact intention. Thus, in this blog, Dentistry for Children presents you with a User’s Manual for Children’s teeth.
Caring For Kid’s Tiny Teeth: Our Three-Part Premise For Pediatric Dental Care
Before we begin the list, as we promised above, we need to mention a major premise in pediatric dentistry. It’s easy and forthright. And it’s the foundation of all we do for healthy mouths.
- “Even though all primary teeth eventually fall out, it’s important to take care of them. Loss or decay of these teeth can deform the mouth, causing problems when the permanent teeth take their place.”
- This is important because tiny teeth, called baby teeth or deciduous teeth, protect the buds of your child’s permanent teeth. They hold the proper space for the soon-to-come lifetime teeth. Remember, those first teeth guide proper chewing, speech skills, and appearance in your child’s formative years.
- Thus, we are fanatic about brushing habits. “Starting regular brushing habits early will also make your child more likely to maintain good dental hygiene in the future.”
And Now: The User’s Guide to Your Kids’ Tiny Teeth or What Parents Need to Know to Avoid Dental Mistakes, Myths, and Misinformation
The Sticky Vitamin Story
Often called gummies and well-loved by children, we have never before blogged about this evil twist on a healthy habit. Gummy Vitamins, no matter what the brand, deposit filmy sweet stickiness on baby teeth. That can’t be good.
Dr. Carol McKown, pediatric dentist at Village Dental at Saxony in Indiana explained this in a video last year. She stated, “They have 2-3 calories each, and giving them to your child dentally equates to giving your child gummy, sticky candy. She recommends crunchy-style vitamins…”
Another Secret Threat: Goldfish Don’t Swim Well Around Kids’ Tiny Teeth
Goldfish are simply another “fermentable carbohydrate treat” on the level of pretzels, chips, and animal crackers. Why parents think this is a dentally healthy choice for kids is a mystery to us. Dr. McKown states, “Limit the frequency you are allowing your child to consume these snacks…”
The Bad News Beddy-Bye Bottle
We have spoken out many times against the habit of letting a baby sleep with a bottle of milk. You see, milk, even breast milk has lactose, a natural sugar. If you let that stay on teeth or even in a toothless baby mouth, it leads to decay. In fact, it has a name: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Now, if the baby must have a bottle to self-sooth, then water is a much better choice.
Juice, Sport, and Other Sugary Drinks: We Cry Foul!
You know our stand against juice and sugary drinks. We have often posted of their dental danger. We have had great grand-mother who disagreed vehemently with us on this point because juice bottles were a vital part of maternal care back in the olden days. Please check out previous blog detailing this danger to kids’ tiny teeth.
Did you know manufacturers actually put 30 grams of sugar or more in each bottle of sports drink? If you want your child to have it, we only recommend four ounces of fruit juice during a meal within a day.
The Terrible Toothpaste Overkill: A Little Dab Will Do!
We know parents who have good intentions and are committed to teaching kids how to brush. They just do one thing wrong. They put a big curly swoop of toothpaste on kids’ toothbrushes. Folks, it is not ice cream. Here are the rules to protect your kids’ tiny teeth.
- Use a dab about the size of a small grain of rice or a smear of fluoridated toothpaste for children under 4.
- For children age 4 and over, we suggest parents use only a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
But, Mommy, I Can Brush My Teeth By Myself!
We know quite a few parents who allow their toddlers to brush by themselves. That does not mean it’s a good idea. We emphasize that most 2-4-year-olds do not yet have the dexterity or hand-eye coordination to properly brush their teeth alone.
Letting them do so can lead to cavities in kids’ tiny teeth. However, in case your toddlers are advanced for their age, we have excellent advice. Avoid tantrums and cavities with this simple logic:
Tell them they can brush by themselves when they can tie their shoes. You see, it is “not really an age issue.” When they can brush by themselves “is more a dexterity issue.”
Thus we agree that “When children have the dexterity to tie their own shoes, that is when they have the dexterity to brush properly and do a thorough job.
May The Floss Be With You!
Yes, flossing had its share of controversy in the last few years. However, if you believe you don’t need to floss baby teeth, you are wrong. It is a myth. And a mistake. Start flossing as soon as two teeth start touching.
That’s right. For a healthy mouth and good dental hygiene training, begin flossing when any 2 teeth touch each other. Tooth brushes do not work to reach into tiny crevices between teeth.
With older children, it is important to floss the back molars, especially when the back molars are touching. Cavities love to grow between teeth. We do not want any child to lose teeth before their time.
More Fascinating “Chapters” to Come, In the “User’s Manual for Tiny Teeth,” Part 2, Our Next Blog
In our next blog, we will bring you a few more facts that will help you avoid problems and expenses with your kids’ tiny teeth. We all know we might make a few mistakes in the parenthood adventure, but they don’t have to be dental. Until then, watch out for dental myths, misinformation, and misconceptions. Thank you for reading our blog and remember, at Dentistry for Children, we love to answer questions. That’s why we are your child’s Dental Home.