We love it when our child has our eyes or our partner’s dimples. But, children don’t only inherit our good traits. They can take on our bad habits, too, like poor dental hygiene practices. Parents with anxiety or fear of the dentist are more likely to have kids with cavities. As a parent, if fear of the dentist keeps you away from regular cleanings, review our resources for overcoming a fear of the dentist. Untreated cavities in children can affect their oral health for a lifetime to come. Prevent cavities and a fear of the dentist in your children:
Parents with a Fear of the Dentist Have Children with Untreated Cavities
Your dental anxiety is not uncommon, but it has many consequences. It negatively impacts more than just your own dental health. Parents with a fear of the dentist are more likely to have kids with cavities.
A parent’s effect on their child’s dental health doesn’t end there. Parents or guardians can spread their existing cavities from their own mouth to the child’s mouth. This is done through everyday interactions like cleaning a binky or pacifier off in your mouth, sharing a spoon, or kissing a baby on the mouth.
Cavities Come from Bad Habits + Mouth Contact
One study examined if young children had been infected with a strain of bacteria involved in the process of tooth decay.
- 30% of the three-month-old children
- 60% of the six-month-old children
- and 80% of the two-year-old children had the bacteria present that leads to tooth decay.
The researchers concluded that they felt the bacteria was passed to children from their parents or guardians through kissing or sharing items. “Unlike other infectious diseases, tooth decay is not self-limiting. Decayed teeth require professional treatment to remove infection and restore tooth function,” the study wrote.
Dental caries, or cavities, occur when damage from decay creates a hole in the tooth. Tooth decay happens when plaque and bacteria get the opportunity to eat away teeth. They get this opportunity when an individual forgoes brushing, flossing, or regular dentist visits. If you and your child haven’t seen the dentist in the past six months, it’s critical to both overall and dental health to make an appointment today.
More Influences on Children’s Development of Cavities:
- Parental smoking
- Siblings with cavities
- Drinking juice between meals at two years of age or older
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends avoiding the following activities as they are cavity-promoting behaviors:
- Putting babies to sleep with milk from the bottle at bedtime.
- Letting kids drink soda or any liquids with fermentable carbohydrates.
- Continuing to bottle feed after 12-14 months of age.
- Between-meal snacks that contain high amounts of sugar.
* Fermentable carbohydrates are in anything sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or another sugar variant. Fermentable carbohydrates are worse for your mouth than regular carbohydrates because they break down into simple sugars in the mouth, rather than the digestive tract.
Be A Parent Who Prevents Cavities
Remember that the earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. Children should see the dentist by their first birthday and then routinely visit the dentist twice a year. For more information on children’s dental health and avoiding untreated cavities, visit our blog:
Looking for a new dentist? Click here to find an in-network provider in your area.