Top 5 mistakes you could be making with your kids' dental health

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - There are big mistakes parents make when it comes to their kids’ dental health and it could cause overall health complications.

For example, did you know dentists prefer kids drink tap over bottled water? Tap water contains fluoride, which protects against cavities and tooth decay. A dentist at Ideal Dental in Kingwood said that’s just one of five major mistakes parents make:

1.    Supervise brushing

Dr. Shalin Patel said he's happy when he sees parents make brushing fun but the most important thing is having them there to supervise.

“It's important for us to be able to look back and see ‘are they actually cleaning on the back teeth properly?’” Patel said kids often skip brushing their back teeth and flossing when parents don’t monitor brushing habits. 

2.    A cavity is a big deal

“Some parents will even tell me, ‘they're going to fall out anyway right?’ That is not the case,” Patel said. “They help their jaw develop the way they should, but one of the most important aspects is a baby tooth is actually a placeholder for a permanent tooth. If that baby tooth is removed early because the cavity gets too large, it usually causes the permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong direction.”

If a cavity is ignored, infection can spread throughout their bodies. 

3.    Get them to the dentist before their first birthday 

“ Between six-months-old and a year is when we normally expect that first tooth to arrive but if it hasn't erupted by the first year, it's always good to have a dentist just check it out,” Patel said.

4.    Never let kids fall asleep with juice or milk bottles

If kids fall asleep with the drinks sitting on their teeth, like juice or milk, it can create cavities.

5.    Not just candy or juice cause cavities

When it comes to food, a lot of parents think if it's not candy, it's safe. Patel warns that dried fruit (like raisins),  crackers and starchy foods for snacks also cause cavities.

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