A big part of any parent’s life is sifting through a mountain of advice from friends, family, and online sources to find the best way to raise a healthy, happy child. Sometimes, these sources mean well but can be a source of confusion or conflicting information, so we wanted to share the top 5 myths we’ve encountered over our 30+ years of pediatric dental service:
MYTH #1: Baby teeth aren’t important
FACT: Healthy baby teeth are the foundation for proper nutrition, speech development, and self-confidence. Our friends at the American Dental Association have put together a great, short video to explain more:
MYTH #2: Baby teeth don’t get cavities
FACT: All teeth are vulnerable to cavities, and dental decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the U.S. Cavities are caused by a type of bacteria called mutans streptococcus, and while babies are born without this bacteria, it is highly common for parents to pass along these cavity-causing sugar bugs through normal interaction like sharing a spoon during feeding.
MYTH #3: Kids don’t require dental visits until they reach school age
FACT: Pediatricians agree a child’s first dental visit should occur with their firth toothy or by their 1st birthday to ensure proper development.
MYTH #4: My child should just join me in seeing a general/family dentist.
FACT: The AAPD recommends children see a pediatric dentist. Only specialists in pediatric dentistry have the unique education and training required to care for children’s oral development needs.
MYTH #5: My child can brush their own teeth.
FACT: Studies have proven that younger children don’t yet have the manual dexterity to access all of the hard-to-reach areas of their mouths and often lack the patience for a complete brushing time. Watch your little ones carefully during teeth brushing until it’s clear they have both the patience and control needed to effectively clean their mouths.
Watch this fun, short video for tips on how your little ones can brush effectively and keep the sugar bugs away:
One expert tip: a good indicator of this readiness is if your child can write clearly in cursive. This demonstrates that they possess the dexterity and patience necessary to brush that smile clean themselves.