Some parents or caregivers may not be aware but there are common habits at home that put their children’s oral health at risk according to the 2013 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. Following are two of the common habits that seem harmless but should be avoided by parents or caregivers of young children:
Juice or Milk while Sleeping
Almost half of the surveyed respondents, who were primary caregivers of children aged 4 years or younger replied that the child they were taking care of had a bottle with milk or juice while sleeping. This common habit can cause what is called “baby bottle tooth decay.”
Caregivers should make the children take their milk or juice and clean their teeth or mouth before putting them to sleep. However, if sucking on a bottle helps in putting them to sleep, fill the bottle with water.
Sharing Utensils and Food with Children
“Babies are actually born without any harmful bacteria in their mouth. But once the teeth start to erupt decay-causing bacteria can colonize in the mouth, and children become more prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth,” Dr. Bill Kohn, Delta Dental’s vice president, said. “Parents with a history of poor oral health are particularly likely to pass germs along.”
One way parents or caregivers can contaminate a child’s mouth with harmful bacteria is by sharing their eating utensils such as a glass, spoon or fork. According to 75% of the caregivers surveyed, they are most likely to share eating utensils with their children who are 2 or 3 years old.
Ask your dentists for other pediatric dental health tips.