Is there anything better than seeing a big, beaming smile on the face of your baby? Of course not! But how much do you really know about taking care of your children’s teeth? Alright, alright, you know the basics: sugar = bad, milk = good, right? But that’s probably where it stops. Got questions about your munchkin’s munchers? Check out our list of some of the top questions parents ask about kids teeth.
Pacifiers: Is There a Price to Pay for a Little Peace and Quiet?
Up until the age of about 2 years old, there’s nothing wrong with using a pacifier, as any teeth alignment problems can be corrected within about 6 months. Unfortunately, prolonged use of a pacifier can lead to all sorts of oral health problems, including alignment issues and changes to the shape of the roof of your child’s mouth. Oddly enough, there’s also a link between pacifier use and middle ear infections. Oh, and while it probably goes without saying, be sure not to dip your kid’s pacifier in honey or sugar. For obvious reasons. Sounds strange, but trust us, it happens.
Does Teething Have to Be So Tough?
All children go through teething at some point, so it’s certainly not something to be super concerned about. That said, it can be a scary time, particularly if your baby reacts badly to their toddler teeth coming in. As anyone with young children can attest to, those rough nights can take their toll. Fortunately, there are lots of different things that you can do to help soothe your baby’s teething pain, including teething toys, over-the-counter pain relievers, and gum massage.
What’s Your Opinion on Thumb Sucking: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Lots of kids suck their thumb. It’s not a massive problem, and most kids give it up way before it starts to do any damage. Plus, some thumb sucking is totally fine. If your baby is just resting their thumb in their mouth, it’s much less likely to have a negative effect than more vigorous thumb sucking (which is a habit you should probably try to curb). By the age of 5 or 6, most thumb-suckers find something else to help them get to sleep. If the habit continues past this age, it can lead to crowded teeth or bite problems, exactly like prolonged pacifier use. So, if your little gnawer just won’t stop, it might be worth offering them a little bit of extra encouragement!
Does Breastfeeding Beat Bottle-Feeding When It Comes to Cavity Fighting?
Breastfeeding is often considered to be the best choice for babies — purely from a health perspective — but these benefits also extend to dental health as well. Breast milk has tooth-strengthening properties, and
breast-feedingis generally considered to be better protection against tooth decay than bottled milk. Of course, children who breastfeed can still develop cavities, but in that situation, it’s often the other food in the baby’s diet (as opposed to the breast milk) that contributes to the development of caries.
Hey, Aren’t Teeth Supposed to Be White?
Noticed any discoloration in your kid’s teeth? Both primary and permanent teeth can change color, and while it’s usually just a cosmetic problem, discolored baby teeth could potentially be a much more serious concern. Common culprits include medication with excessive iron, dental trauma, inadequate brushing, illness, or weak enamel. Interestingly, excessive fluoride (a mineral that is intended to prevent tooth decay) can also cause faint white lines to develop on the teeth, so it’s super important to restrict your child’s intake of fluoridated water.