6 Contributors to Poor Oral Health in Your Child

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School may be back in swing, but your child’s best teacher is working round-the-clock: You! The foundation of effective parenting is leading by example. This is especially true when establishing good dental hygiene habits like brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist. An early orthodontic treatment may also be helpful in making extra room in the mouth for permanent teeth to be placed properly.

A child with a sweet tooth is not unusual, and a lot of parents are keeping their kids healthy by saying no to sugary candies and cookies. But what about breakfast? Many children’s cereals are loaded with sugar, sometimes even more than desserts.

Impact of Oral Health on Children

A lot of children have gapped teeth which may seem like a fairly common dental problem, but only starts taking a toll on a growing teen’s self-esteem when the permanent teeth are in place.

Other problems like tooth decay, due to improper nutrition, can result in chronic pain that give rise to problems when chewing, speaking and classroom activities. An aching tooth would also mean missing school more often than usual.

Your child’s oral health has many effects on the other aspects of life, so what can you do as a parent to ensure that they get the best?

6 Contributors to Poor Oral Health in Your Child

Nursing Bottle Syndrome

Nursing bottle syndrome, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, is a sleep aid used by babies. Falling asleep with a bottle full of milk or juice, increases the baby’s likelihood for developing tooth decay.

The bacteria that cause cavities have all the sugars they need in order to erode the enamel on your child’s tiny teeth. The decay mostly affects the top front teeth since the nipple of the bottle prevents saliva from washing away the sugars.

Decayed or Missing Baby Teeth

Decayed or missing baby teeth can result in crooked or misaligned teeth that can be challenging for your child to maintain proper oral hygiene. It can also give rise to other problems like gum disease and premature tooth loss.

Thumb Sucking and Lip Sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal reflex for infants and young children. However, when their permanent teeth are in place, it can create many problems for them. Your child’s supporting bone structure might change with persistent thumb sucking.

It may also make it difficult to pronounce certain words. A similar problem is seen in children sucking their lower lip using their upper teeth. Children generally stop thumb and lip sucking by age five.

Tongue Thrusting

Tongue thrusting is a natural reflex in which a child constantly presses the tongue against the lips that can lead to protrusion of teeth. This condition may also hamper your child’s speech. Moreover, it may indicate allergies, enlarged tonsils.

Poor Nutrition

If your child has a sweet tooth, they’re likely to splurge more than normal. While eating candy is not a bad habit, it is still an indicative of poor nutrition and cavities. Limit your child’s intake of sugary and sticky foods like jelly beans, raisins and granola bars.

Parents’ Oral Health

If you already are suffering from a gum disease or tooth decay, chances are your child might suffer from the same. Bacteria from the parent’s mouth can be transferred to their child’s mouth while sharing food or when giving kisses.

Develop Good Oral Health Habits Now

The summer is flying by and we all want to savor its last few weeks before a fresh fall season. The new school year brings an opportunity to get organized and develop good habits. Incorporating good oral habits now can be a great way to be better focused at school and co-curricular activities. So, start now to keep your and your child’s pearly whites healthy and sparkly!


Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. What brings a big smile to Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy! 

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