You’ve probably read to your kids myths about Hercules and Zeus. Those take place thousands of years ago — so would it surprise you to know there are still myths circulating in our modern world, and that some of them have to do with teeth?
In fact, some things we take as common knowledge about kids’ teeth are false. Here are five myths we can clear up for you to help better care for your kids’ chompers.
You Don’t Need to Care for Baby Teeth Before They Break Through the Gums
Your kids’ teeth don’t just magically appear one day. You need to offer proper care for the gums before they break through to ensure those teeth stay healthy and strong. You should wipe down babies’ gums after they eat, even if they just consume formula or nurse.
You will also want to ensure they eat a nutritious diet. Healthy food will help them grow strong teeth that remain that way until they get their permanent ones in a few years.
You Should Brush Immediately After Every Meal
While it’s great you want your kids to clean their teeth, sometimes it’s best to exercise restraint on brushing. If your child has eaten something acidic in the meal, such as oranges or grapefruits, brushing right away can actually weaken the enamel and leave it vulnerable to the fruits’ lingering citric acid.
Baby Teeth Aren’t Too Important Because They’ll Eventually Be Lost
This may be one of the biggest misconceptions parents have about their kids’ teeth. They think they don’t need to care for baby teeth in the same way they do for permanent teeth because they’ll just fall out in a few years.
But you still need to floss, brush and schedule regular checkups for baby teeth. If they become damaged, they may fall out too early, which can lead to spacing issues for permanent teeth. Kids who have cavities or gingivitis also will be in pain, not something you want to subject your children to.
Flavored or Bottled Water Is Just As Good For Kids’ Teeth As Tap Water
Portland does not have fluoride in its public water supply, so you may think giving your child bottled water presents no problems. But if that water has fruit flavoring, even if it’s sugar-free, you could be damaging your child’s teeth. Again, chemical additives such as citric acid can cause damage to your child’s enamel, leading to cavities.
Snacking Throughout the Day Is As Good As a Meal
The occasional healthy snack plays an important role in a good diet. But if your child grabs snacks all the time, and many of them contain loads of sugar, then they may hurt their teeth as well as their energy levels. This sugar in granola bars, fruit chews, crackers and other foods assaults the teeth and leads to the buildup of bacteria and plaque.
Instead, encourage your child to eat regular meals. These have a balance of veggies, dairy, carbs and protein, all good for your teeth. Plus, they’ll satiate your child better than snacks.
Spread the Word
Thanks for indulging in our version of “Mythbusters.” We hope you learned a few things that will help you care for your kids’ teeth — and remember, you can always call our Portland office if you have any other questions about common teeth myths. In the meantime, educate your families and friends on these helpful teeth tips.