Myth busters: Common pediatric dentist misconceptions

As with everything, there is myth and truth. Pediatric dentistry is certainly no exception and when it comes to navigating oral health care for your child’s teeth and gums, there are many misconceptions and myths.

Even during the pandemic, many families have questions when it comes to the care of their children’s little teeth. As the authority on children’s oral health, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is busting common myths to ensure your child’s oral health stays in top shape.

1. My child doesn’t have any tooth pain, so it’s OK to delay going to the dentist.

Myth: Taking care of your child’s health is more important than ever. Don’t delay a routine trip to the dentist. Oral health is essential health care. Maintaining good oral health goes hand in hand with total body health, as the mouth is the gateway to the body.

2. Baby teeth aren’t permanent, so it’s OK if my child skips brushing his teeth every now and then.

Myth: Baby teeth are actually very important and play a significant role. These tiny teeth help your child eat, speak and smile. They also are the GPS for adult teeth, holding space to lessen possible crowding of permanent teeth and guide the adult teeth into place.

Neglecting to take proper care of baby teeth can lead to dangerous and sometimes life-threatening infections beyond cavities. An infection in a baby tooth can also affect the health of the adult and permanent tooth coming in underneath it.

3. Orange juice and other sugar-free juices are OK for my child to drink.

Myth: Fruit-based juices are better than soda, but the best beverage to give your child is water. Even the natural sugars in fruit drinks create bacteria that cause tooth decay. Besides being accessible and inexpensive when compared to sugary drinks, water plays an important role in keeping bacteria at bay.

4. When it comes to snacking, I should prioritize organic snacks.

Myth: Your teeth can’t tell the difference between organic and non-organic foods. And organic or not, items like fruit gummies, granola bars and apple sauce pouches may seem healthy, but the sticky ingredients in those snacks can linger on teeth and eventually lead to cavities.

5. My child can brush their teeth all on their own.

Myth: Probably not! While your child might be capable of brushing their own teeth, it’s vital parents maintain good oral health at home by helping their child brush thoroughly for two minutes, twice a day, up until age 7 or 8. This is in addition to routine pediatric dental check-ups.

“Do not brush off your children’s routine oral health visits,” said Lee. “Delays in pediatric dental visits can lead to bigger oral health emergencies. Your child should see us on a regular basis so we can keep little teeth healthy and prevent big problems from arising.”

The AAPD has and continues to maintain stringent safety protocols to ensure the safety of patient families as well as dental office staff. Precautions include patient rooms that follow CDC-recommended social distancing, proper PPE, and ongoing deep office sanitation.

For more information about children’s oral health or to find a pediatric dentist in your area, visit mychildrensteeth.org.

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