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4 Things That Affect Your Child’s Oral Health

added on: September 13, 2021

It’s no secret that poor oral health can be bad news for your child’s overall health, as it can increase the risk of cavities, gum disease, and infections. This is why it’s so important to make sure your child takes good care of their teeth and gums and visits their pediatric dentist in Medford regularly. However, even if your child brushes his teeth twice a day, there are numerous other things that can have an effect on his oral health.  

  • What They Eat

Eating habits can have an impact on how well children keep their pearly whites clean. A balanced diet rich in calcium is important for keeping teeth strong and healthy, especially for kids. Additionally, fresh veggies are good at keeping teeth and gums clean in between brushing and can encourage saliva production. Saliva contains some calcium and phosphate so it can help remineralize teeth that may have been attacked by acids. However, acidic, sugary, or starchy foods should be enjoyed in moderation as they can easily lead to dental problems.  

  • Habits

While you may love how adorable it is to see your toddler sucking his thumb (it is cute), you may not realize how it can damage their teeth. Believe it or not, thumb sucking can start to cause problems even before your little one has any teeth. Habitual thumb sucking can affect the roof of the mouth as well as the jaw. It can also affect how teeth erupt and how they line up when they do. Kids who suck their thumbs are more likely to develop problems with their bite, such as an overbite or underbite. This can affect speech development and can even make it hard to chew. 

  • Their Genetics

A common dental myth is that oral health is genetic. But your pediatric dentist in Medford knows that this isn’t entirely true. Problems such as tooth decay and gum disease aren’t caused by genetics – but rather by diet and lifestyle. However, if parents have good oral hygiene habits, their children are more likely to do so as well. One area of oral health where genetics can play a role is in tooth development. For example, if a parent has crowded teeth, chances are a child will have them, too. Crowded teeth can be more difficult to clean, which can increase the risk of cavities. This is one reason why many dentists recommend straightening teeth through orthodontics. 

  • Diabetes

Although diabetes is a disease that affects blood sugar, it can also cause dental problems. In fact, dental problems are common in children with type 1 diabetes. According to a study published in Diabetes Care, more than one-third of children with type 1 diabetes have periodontal disease by age 14, compared to just one-fifth of those without diabetes. The study shows those with poor blood sugar control had a 70 percent higher rate of severe gum disease compared to those whose levels were more controlled. 

When it comes to caring for your kid’s oral health, you need to look beyond the toothbrush and floss and into their daily habits, diet, and overall health. After all, the mouth is a gateway to general good health, and maintaining good oral hygiene helps to ensure overall wellness. 

If your child is due for a dental visit, we encourage you to call his pediatric dentist in Medford to schedule an appointment today.