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Three Risks to Your Toddler's Oral Health

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There's so much to think about when caring for a toddler, and their oral health might not be top of your list.As long as your child is brushing their teeth regularly and visiting the dentist, everything should be fine, right? Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

There are several subtle causes of oral damage, which you might not be aware of until your child's oral health has already suffered.

We've listed three of the most common risks below, along with help and advice on how to prevent them. If you're uncertain about any aspect of your toddler's oral health, it's definitely worth a trip to the family dentist. When it comes to teeth, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Baby bottle tooth decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is a type of decay that's caused by too much exposure to sugary liquids. Some of the main causes of baby bottle tooth decay include:

  • Rubbing honey, sugar or syrup onto your child's bottle or pacifier.
  • Allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquid.
  • Feeding your child too many sugary drinks, including fruit juice, soft drinks, milk, and formula.
  • Giving your child sugary drinks just before bed.

You can reduce the risk of baby bottle tooth decay by limiting the amount of sugar you give your child, sticking to water where possible, and transitioning from bottle to cup as soon as possible. You should also take care to clean your child's teeth and gums after they've consumed sugar. If you aren't careful enough, your child could end up with teeth that are cracked, damaged, painful and infected, so it's worth the effort to get things right.

Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking may seem harmless enough, but it can be detrimental to oral health. Some thumb sucking is normal in children, but if it seems excessive or continues beyond the age of five, you may have a problem. Too much thumb sucking can push your child's teeth out of alignment, damage the alignment of the jaws, and cause an overbite. The roof of your child's mouth can also be affected, and they may struggle to pronounce certain words. Encourage your child to break the habit with positive reinforcement, not punishments.

Tongue thrusting

Some children close the mouth for swallowing by pushing their tongue forward against their lips. This puts pressure on their front teeth, which can cause them to become crooked or misaligned. This habit can affect speech development, and a speech therapist or dentist should be able to help your child to alter their swallowing method.

Your toddler's oral health is so important. Don't neglect it.