As one of the most popular dental offices in Cedar Rapids, Coralville & Muscatine, we often hear parents and children ask us if something they’ve heard on TV or read online is true. Most of the time, what they’ve heard or read is not true. They are myths that continue to spread despite dental experts sharing research and statistics against the information. Since we want our patients to be the most knowledgeable ones in the nation, we wanted to debunk some of the most common kid’s dentistry myths here.
#1: Kids Should Never Chew Gum
Gum can be good for kids’ teeth, as long as it’s sugar-free. Without the sugar, the bacteria in the mouth won’t produce enough acid to cause damage. The act of chewing also increases the amount of saliva in the mouth. This can keep cavities away.
#2: Fruit Juice Is a Healthy Option
Did you know that fruit juice can have as much sugar as a soda? It’s true! That amount of sugar cancels out all of the benefits of the small amount of vitamins in the juice.
As mentioned above, sugar causes bacteria in the mouth to become acidic. The more sugar that is introduced, the more acidic the mouth becomes. This acid breaks down tooth enamel, which compromises the integrity of the teeth and can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
#3: Always Have Children Brush Their Own Teeth
Yes, you should have children brush their own teeth IF they can do it effectively. Most children do not know how to brush their teeth because they were told to do it before they were taught how to do it right. Spend time with your toddler every night showing him/her how to brush effectively. When your toddler takes over the handle of the brush, watch to see if all parts of the teeth and gums are brushed adequately. If after a month or so, you haven’t had to correct your toddler, he/she should be ready to do it all alone.
#4: Baby Teeth Just Aren’t Important, They Fall Out Eventually
Baby teeth are the foundation of a long life of good oral health. When that foundation is strong and healthy, people grow up with strong and healthy adult teeth. This isn’t the only reason it is important to care for baby teeth. It’s also because if baby teeth are not cared for well, tooth decay may develop. This decay can cause pain and infection that spreads into the gums and causes damage to adult teeth that have yet to emerge.
#5: Cavities Are Only Caused by Sugar
Sugar does play a huge role in cavities, but there are many other causes that kids and adults should be aware of. Starches can increase the amount of plaque in your mouth, which clings to teeth. If that plaque is not removed regularly (every 6 months at least), it can cause teeth to decay or cavities. Deep grooves in the teeth are also another cause of cavities. Some children have sealants placed on their teeth to keep bacteria out of the deep grooves.
Spread the Word
Now that you’ve read the truth about the most common kid’s dentistry myths, share the information with everyone you know. That way everyone will understand how to better care for their children’s dental health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a dental appointment for your child, contact Iowa Pediatric Dental Center.