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Tooth Damage In Your Child And How You Can Prevent It

Your child relies upon you as their parent to teach them how to take care of their oral health. If your child learns how to brush their teeth too aggressively, they can do permanent damage to their teeth. The following information explains tooth damage and how to prevent it by teaching your child proper brushing with a formed habit.

Prevent Tooth Damage and Sensitivity

According to a nationwide member survey conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry, one in three dentists say aggressive tooth-brushing is the most common cause of sensitive teeth. Your child may not see damage to their teeth this early in their life, but as they repeat the learned habit of aggressive brushing, their teeth will become damaged as they grow older. 

When your child has learned to scrub their toothbrush over the surface of their teeth, it will wear it away at the enamel. Over time, this can leave channels along the base of their teeth and cause their gums to recede, exposing sensitive dentin. As your child becomes an adult, they may experience sensitive teeth when they eat hot, cold, or sweet foods as a result of their exposed dentin.

Receding gums will expose the root of your child's teeth when they are an adult, increasing the chance of them getting a cavity in that area. This can cause their teeth to be more prone to staining, sensitivity, and cavities, and it increases their risk of tooth loss. 

Teach Good Brushing Technique

As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your child new skills, including how to brush their teeth properly. While your child is young, they should learn how to brush their teeth without scrubbing or damaging their teeth and gums. And, if you are guilty of aggressively brushing on your own teeth, this gives you an opportunity to relearn this task the right way and make it your own habit. 

When you brush your child's teeth, use your fingertips to hold the brush, not the palm of your hand. Don't bend the bristles on the toothbrush as you clean their teeth. Brush their teeth with a light touch, as if you were cleaning the surface of an expensive painting. While you do this, your child will learn how the toothbrush should feel as it cleans their teeth. Then, when they begin to do the brushing on their own, they will copy your movements. 

Having a soft-bristled toothbrush may not be enough to protect your child's teeth from damage. Soft bristles can damage teeth if they are used to brush them hard enough. An electric toothbrush is a better option as your child does not need to make a brushing motion. They only need to hold the brush over their teeth as the electric brushing head rotates for them. Then as each tooth gets cleaned, they can move the toothbrush head to the next tooth.

Begin an Automatic Habit

Activities you do daily can turn into an automatic habit when you do them enough. This includes your and your child's good and bad oral care and hygiene habits. If you want your child to brush their teeth the right way all the time, you need to teach them the correct way to brush their teeth, and make sure they repeat it until it is a habit. 

A 2009 study by a team of researchers at the University College London set out to determine how long it took to establish an automatic habit. Despite a common belief that it takes only 21 days of repeating an activity for it to become a habit, the researchers at the University found that it took an average of 66 days to create a habit. So to help your child learn the right way to brush their teeth, make sure they repeat the activity every day for an average of 66 days.

This information can help you teach your child the right way to brush their teeth and make it a habit so they can avoid tooth sensitivity and damage when they are an adult. Talk with a dentist from a clinic like Apollo Dental Center if you have specific questions about oral hygiene habits.