Here at Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to providing the very best in pediatric dental care. And that includes educating parents and children about oral health. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about kids’ teeth so we want to help set the record straight. Here are five of the most common myths and what the real facts are:
- “Baby teeth aren’t that important.”
- “Kids should brush their own teeth as soon as possible.”
- “Kids don’t need to see a dentist until they start school.”
- “Only kids who eat candy get cavities.”
- “Kids don’t need to floss.”
One of the most persistent misunderstandings about a kid’s teeth is that the baby ones don’t matter because they’re just going to fall out. However, if baby teeth aren’t cared for, they will develop permanent damage called decay. And decay can lead to infection, unnecessary pain for your child, and damage to the underlying adult teeth. Baby teeth are needed to guide their growing teeth, so if they must be removed early because of decay, it can cause future alignment problems. Premature loss of baby teeth can also impair a child’s speech development.
Encourage your child’s independence when you feel they have demonstrated they are responsible enough and physically capable of taking charge of their oral care. The timeline looks different for every family. Some kids start brushing their own teeth when they can tie their own shoes, around the age of 6, but other children need help until age 9 or 10! Sticking to a twice-daily schedule, brushing for a full two minutes, and reaching the teeth farthest back are especially tricky for kids. So even when they are brushing their own teeth, supervise the process until you trust they’re doing it well.
Many parents don’t think about taking their kids to see a dentist until they begin school, but the truth is they should see the dentist much sooner. We actually recommend that kids come in when their first teeth appears around age 1. Their dental appointments will look a lot like yours in terms of preventive care. We want to be sure your kids’ teeth are well-cared for to prevent any problems.
There’s a common belief that candy is what causes cavities and that if you don’t let your kids eat any, they won’t get childhood cavities. The truth is that oral bacteria feeding upon carbohydrates, which break down into sugar, is what causes decay and cavities. As bacteria eat, they produce acids that weaken enamel. While eating candy does increase the chance of decay, there are other foods and drinks high in sugar that should also be consumed in moderation. These include things such as white bread, juice, potato chips, dried fruit, sports drinks, and coffee.
If a kid is brushing well, a lot of parents think that’s good enough. However, kids need to floss just like adults do. Not flossing results in bacteria buildup between the teeth and under the gums, which leads to gum disease. While teaching your kids to floss takes patience, it’s worth it! A combination of a balanced diet, routine dental visits, daily brushing, and daily flossing will keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Kids Dentistry Is Our Passion!
At Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio, we specialize in pediatric dentistry and strive to give every kid positive early experiences at the dentist. Our office is stocked with kid-friendly entertainment like TVs, books, magazines, and more, so kids won’t dread their appointments. Contact us today to set one up!