Three Bad Habits That Lead To Tooth Decay In Toddlers

If you want your child to have a lifetime of good dental health, then it's important to take great care of his or her baby teeth. Not only do these baby teeth allow your child to eat and talk comfortably, but they are also essential for guiding the adult teeth into place once they start emerging. When your little one is in their toddler years, make sure you avoid these common bad habits that can harm his or her dental health.

Bad Habit #1: Letting them brush their own teeth.

While it's important for your toddler to learn to be independent and to brush their own teeth, turning the task of toothbrushing over to them completely is not wise at this age. They may miss important spots or brush too quickly for it to be effective. It's a good idea to let your toddler practice brushing their teeth for a minute or two, and then take over and brush them completely yourself. Over time, let your toddler do more and more of the brushing while you supervise. Even when they reach kindergarten age, you'll want to watch and make sure they are brushing thoroughly rather than just telling you that they have brushed.

Bad Habit #2: Giving them too much juice.

Many parents give their toddlers lots of juice since it is high in vitamins and minerals. The problem is, however, that juice is also very sugary. If your toddler is sipping on it all day, the sugar will linger on their teeth and lead to decay. It's best to limit the amount of juice you give your child. Give it only at mealtimes, and dilute it half-and-half with water to lower the sugar content. Rely on whole fruits and veggies to provide them with the vitamins and minerals they need instead.

Bad Habit #3: Using sippy cups.

Sippy cups put the liquid they contain into direct contact with the teeth. Since the liquid comes out of them quite slowly, your child tends to drink over a longer period of time, exposing the teeth to sugar for even longer. While sippy cups may be convenient for preventing spills, they're a bad choice for dental health. Teach your toddler to drink from a straw instead. The straw deposits liquid on the tongue, behind the teeth, so it won't be such a decay risk.

To learn more about tooth health in toddlers, reach out to your pediatric dentist or Rupp and Grabowski Family Dentistry.