5 Habits that Can Hurt Children’s Teeth

According to the CDC, around 20% of children ages 5 to 11 have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. A dental routine is important for every person, regardless of age. If you have children, you want them to have the best health they can, including dental health. But did you know that some of the most common habits of kids can severely damage their teeth?


Drinking from A Bottle at Night

While giving your little one a warm bottle of milk before bed may prove to be an effective way to get them to sleep, it can seriously damage their teeth. Sugar in the milk or juice you give them will remain in their mouth throughout the night. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, producing acids that eat away at tooth enamel. This sets the stage for tooth decay to occur. Don’t let your child sleep with the bottle either because if they drink from the bottle in the middle of the night, they add to the damaging effects.


Drinking from a Sippy Cup All Day

If your child likes to take sip on a sippy cup of juice throughout the day, this is a habit you need to stop. If your little one is drinking juice or milk all day, the saliva in their mouth doesn’t have an opportunity to wash away the sugars in the drinks that lead to tooth decay.




Pacifiers & Thumb Sucking

Children usually start to see their permanent teeth coming in between the ages of 4 and 6. The permanent teeth that begin to grow in a child’s mouth can be misaligned if they are still sucking their thumb or using a pacifier; these habits can also harm the development of the jaw. It is recommended to wean children off of pacifiers before they reach 2 years old. It’s important to remove any habits that can damage the normal growth of your little one’s mouth.


Chewing Nails

Nail biting can be a result of curiosity, nervousness, or a number of other reasons. Whatever the cause, it’s crucial that you make sure your child isn’t biting their nails. There are many different reasons nail biting is a bad habit, especially for children.

  • A child could chip, crack, or break their teeth
  • Children could spread harmful bacteria from underneath their nails into their mouths
  • Nail biting children could damage their gums with jagged, sharp fingernails
  • Increased risk of bruxism (unintentional grinding or clenching of the teeth that can lead to painful symptoms)




Swallowing Toothpaste

Most toothpaste in stores contain fluoride, a compound that helps strengthen tooth enamel and fight cavities. However, if a person ingests too much fluoride, it can lead to fluorosis and cause discoloration of teeth (white, yellow, or brown spots on teeth). Children should be monitored when using toothpaste with fluoride, ensuring that they spit the toothpaste out after they’ve brushed their teeth.


By helping wean your kids off of these bad habits, you can help them protect their teeth and improve their overall oral health. For more information or to schedule a dental appointment, contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas. We are dedicated to providing you and your loved ones with the best dental care.