Chances are, you’ve heard one of these myths about caring for your child’s teeth from a well-meaning friend or family member, or even believed it yourself. Paediatric dentist Dr. Shonna Masse of the Children’s Dental Centre in Toronto dispels some of the most common misconceptions about children’s dental health.
1. Chocolate milk is better for teeth than juice or pop.
In reality, it is just as bad or worse. It is usually full of sugar and is very thick. It will coat the teeth in sugar, especially in the hard-to-reach spots like in between touching teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria love juice, chocolate milk, and pop.
2. A child’s “baby teeth” are not as important as “permanent” or “adult teeth”.
The health and maintenance of baby teeth are just as important. Children get pain from cavities, the same way an adult does. The baby teeth hold space for the adult teeth. If something happens to the baby teeth, the health, position, and prognosis for the permanent teeth can be affected. Some children end up in the hospital for days because of an abscessed or infected baby tooth. It can become a dangerous health issue.
Baby teeth are important for the self esteem and confidence of the child as well. Many children who have infected teeth extracted at an early age become very shy about their appearance and sometimes have a difficult time smiling.
3. Brushing and flossing baby teeth is not necessary.
Good and consistent oral hygiene practices are important for everyone, no matter the age, for all the reasons just mentioned.
4. Dentists recommend removing all candy from a child’s diet.
Not true. Dentists are realistic. They understand that everyone needs a little sweet stuff sometimes. The candies that should be on the “naughty list” are sticky candies, such as gummy bears, jelly beans, fruit roll ups, Skittles, caramels, dried fruit, etc. Sticky candy is difficult to remove even with a brush, so it is best to avoid it all together.
Sweets like plain chocolate, ice cream, Popsicles, chips, cookies, and cakes are usually okay in moderation and if the teeth are brushed soon after consumption.
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