Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, Bottles, and Bad Dental Habits

brushing teeth
Healthy teeth are a part of your little hero’s overall health. That’s why developing healthy habits at a young age is crucial in maintaining a bright and happy smile well after your child’s permanent teeth come in. Though some of the dental habits that parents and children tend to form early on seem to be relatively innocent, there can be negative consequences to the child’s dental health later on. Your baby’s primary teeth may be temporary, but they should be taken care of nonetheless. Neglecting baby teeth can lead to bad eating habits and poor dental health in their adult years. If you do not enforce those healthy dental habits at an early age, they can suffer from a host of issues even after their permanent teeth come in.

Luckily, there is plenty you can do to help avoid future toothaches and common dental problems.

At Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry, we don’t just clean your little one’s teeth. We aim to teach parents and children about the best dental habits for long-lasting oral health, while helping children become comfortable with regular dental care. Find out more about our pediatric dental services today by calling one of our three South Texas locations.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

When your little heroes develop dental caries in their infant or toddler years, it is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
Tooth decay during a little hero’s early years is commonly seen in the front upper teeth and can be attributed to dietary intake and habits. Click To Tweet
Caring for your baby’s teeth can be easy with just a few simple tips. During their infancy, use a damp washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe their gums and incoming baby teeth at least twice a day. Gently massaging the gums where teeth have not yet breached will alleviate any discomfort your baby might be feeling. Once your child reaches three years of age, you can start using a small of amount of fluoride toothpaste in their daily dental routine. Flossing should also be done once all baby teeth have come in.

Cleaning your little one’s teeth is just one way to help prevent tooth decay and other potential dental problems. Preventing habits like thumb sucking, and a heavy dependence on bottles or pacifiers, can help too. Keep in mind, the action of sucking is perfectly normal for babies. It is comforting and relaxing. However, if your child continues to rely on thumb sucking, or bottles and pacifiers, well passed their infant years, their dental health may be at risk.

You can prevent reliance on these items by not dipping your baby’s pacifier in honey or adding sugar water to their bottle when they are being fussy.  Also, do not make a habit of letting them fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup of juice or milk. These habits not only lead to tooth decay at a young age, they may also lead to crooked teeth and malocclusion in their adult years.

The following are bad habits that you should help prevent:

Sugary drinks before bed. Yes, that includes a sippy cup of milk or chocolate milk. The sugars in fruit juices and dairy tend to stick to the teeth like a film. Left overnight without so much as a rinse, bacteria in the mouth will begin to feast on the sugar. This process produces an acidic environment that eventually eats away the enamel of the teeth, causing tooth decay and dental caries. Opt for a cup of water instead, as soon as she can wean off sippy cups.

Sweets for snacks. Snacks in between meals are definitely encouraged. Kids have a lot of energy to expend, so it only makes sense they would need extra calories in between the three main meals. One to two snacks is the ideal amount for growing children.  Yet, it is up to parents to monitor the type and amount of food children consume during snack-time. Avoid sugary juices, candies, and sweets for snacks. Instead, offer your children healthy, nutrient-dense foods like fruit and vegetable snack packs. A fresh glass of water after a snack is the perfect way to wash away any excess food particles that remain on the teeth. If your little hero wants a sweet treat, offer it with a meal occasionally.

Skimping out on dental checkups. Skipping a few dental appointments because your little hero’s teeth look perfectly fine is not the way to go. There may be something looming under the surface that only a pediatric dentist can detect. Both children and adults should visit a dentist for a routine checkup every six months. Click To Tweet Make sure to schedule your child’s follow-up appointment before leaving the dentist’s office. That way, you are less likely to forget to schedule a checkup six months later.  

Schedule a Checkup Today

Your baby’s dental health is your top priority, and ours too. We understand you need a pediatric dentist you can trust to care for your child’s teeth and well-being. We aim to do just that. Little Heroes Dentistry offers dental and orthodontic treatment options for every step of your little hero’s life, from routine dental care to outpatient hospital services.


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