You want to give your child the best possible start in life; this goal includes their dental health. To maximize the health of your child's teeth, here are a few habits to ditch as soon as possible.

1. Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use

Both thumb sucking and pacifier usage can be detrimental to your child's dental health. Though it's common for toddlers and babies to suck their fingers to self sooth, the constant sucking can interfere with the development of your child's mouth or alter the alignment of their teeth. 

The bones of the mouth will literally start to conform to the shape of the thumb or pacifier, causing a gap between your child's teeth or lips. This will be even more pronounced if your child continues to suck their thumb or use a pacifier once they begin to get their adult teeth. 

Even if your child's mouth has already started to conform to their thumb or pacifier, it's important to remember that their mouth bones are malleable. There's still time for the mouth to resume its correct shape so that there are no lasting implications.

If you've tried to discourage thumb sucking to no avail, encourage your child to substitute other comforting activities for the thumb sucking. For example, they might cuddle a stuffed animal or lay down with their favorite blanket.

2. Constantly Snacking

Children are notorious for loving their snacks. However, each time they have a snack, they coat their teeth with whatever food and beverages they are consuming. If these particles remain on the teeth, it can lead to the development of tooth decay, plaque, and cavities.

Limit your child's snacking to a couple times a day, and encourage them to consume their snack within a specific time period. Make sure that you encourage healthy snacks and avoid items high in sugar or that accumulate between the teeth, like cookies and chips. When they are done, they can brush their teeth or at least rinse their mouth with water to eradicate leftover food particles. 

3.  Procrastinating

This habit is actually for the parent, not the child. It's easy to push off dental appointments due to time limitations, financial constraints, or your own anxiety over going to the dentist.

However, it's important for your child to see the dentist regularly from a young age. Not only will this get them comfortable with the dentist, but it will help identify any dental issues before they become major problems. Your child should see their dentist approximately every six months for their cleanings and a quick examination.

For more information, reach out to a pediatric dental clinic near you.