Parents are urged to stop drinking milk overnight because it is damaging their teeth.
The advice comes when hundreds of people who responded to a survey did not recognize the damage that milk can cause.
In fact, it is lactose, a type of sugar, found in cow’s milk, breast milk and in many baby formulas that puts children at risk of developing tooth decay.
The number 15 in a list of 20 myths, facts and statistics related to children’s teeth, produced by DentaVox, says: “This risk increases during the night, because when we sleep we produce less saliva to protect against decay. A good alternative to milk during sleepless nights would be water. “
It is not the first time we have highlighted the problem. In 2017, we reported that a Salford dentist was urging parents to get rid of bottles before children turn one year old to help prevent tooth decay.
Adlyn Burton, a dental hygienist and therapist at Love The Dentist, has seen children up to three years old who need extractions and fillings due to holes in their teeth.
And he said that letting children continue to use bottles for milk after the age of one year is a major factor that causes tooth decay, especially if they are allowed to fall asleep with them at night.
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She told the Manchester family of M.E.N: “The bottles are only for milk, until the age of one year.
“Juices, sugary drinks and tea should not be administered in a bottle, in particular, a young child should not be allowed to sleep with a bottle in his mouth, as this can contribute to tooth decay.
“The baby can use the bottle as a comforter and suck it all night and then bathe their teeth with sugar that softens the enamel and causes tooth decay.”
Adlyn shared a series of tips to help prevent tooth decay, including brushing twice a day once the teeth come out, either bottle or breastfed, brush with a soft bristle brush and introduce a drinking cup.
Another list of myths, facts and statistics of DentaVox is related to dried fruits: a third of parents confuse it as a healthy snack for the teeth of children, when in fact dried fruits are very concentrated in fruit sugar and their adhesion allows them to hold on to their teeth for longer, creating the perfect conditions for the bacteria that cause decay to feed. ‘
The complete list includes:
1. Children’s first dental visit must be at the age of 3-4 years: MYTH
In fact, your child should visit the dentist for the first time as soon as his first tooth comes out (usually between 6 and 12 months). Why is that necessary? One of the main reasons is called early childhood caries, formerly known as bottle caries or breastfeeding caries. It can develop at a very young age, not to mention the fact that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transferred from mothers to babies. Therefore, the earlier the visit to the dentist, the greater the chances of avoiding more problems.
2. Parents should brush their children’s teeth up to 5 years: SO-SO
However, there are no clear rules among experts. Some dentists advise parents to brush their children’s teeth until they are perfectly coordinated, which is supposed to be around six years. The advice of the NHS is to brush or supervise brushing until the age of three, and then switch to supervision only. Our advice: your child should start developing habits, so let them try to brush their teeth as soon as they think they can. However, do not forget to supervise and still ensure proper cleaning afterwards.
3. It does not matter if the children’s milk teeth decay; they will fall: MYTH
Ignoring tooth decay can always cause more serious problems, and baby teeth are no exception. If left untreated, it can become an abscess that could lead to an emergency situation and a painful experience. Also, just taking out a tooth with cavities can cause other teeth to move, so there is not enough space for the adult tooth to grow. Last but not least, your child needs his teeth for proper development of speech and nutrition.
4. Parents should start brushing when their child’s first tooth comes out: FACT
Believe it or not, oral hygiene begins almost immediately after birth. And we are pleased to see that 51% of parents realize that. Caries in early childhood is a very common dental disease, so be sure to do whatever it takes to prevent it.
5. Children can also floss: FACT
Parents should start flossing every day, once their child’s teeth (milk or permanent) come together, usually between the ages of two and six. As they develop dexterity, they can help them learn to floss independently, approx. at the age of 10 years. Since using incorrect dental floss can damage your gums, be sure to supervise your child until he has perfected the habit.
6. Electric toothbrushes are not good for children: MYTH
Experts say that if a child brushes his teeth for two minutes twice a day and reaches every part of his mouth, it really doesn’t matter if the brush is manual or electric. In any case, electric toothbrushes are not harmful to children. They even have some fun advantages, such as the thematic appearance or bright colors, the timer, the connection to a mobile application, which can make the brushing experience more enjoyable.
7. Children should not brush their teeth immediately after eating: FACT
Brushing after eating is not a good idea, since the acids in the foods and beverages you consume tend to soften the enamel for a while. And this applies to both children and adults. Eliminating the bacteria that cause tooth decay after eating is certainly important, but wait a minimum of 30 minutes before doing so.
8. Excessive use of a dummy can affect the alignment of children’s teeth: FACT
We know the case: your child cannot sleep or cry without a clear reason and you simply give him maximum calm: his doll. It has nothing wrong or bad. However, if that happens too often or for too long a period, it can lead to orthodontic problems, as 82% of survey participants also point out.
The advice of the experts is to get rid of the doll before 2 years and approach your pediatrician if your child is still looking for it before 3 years.
9. Sucking your finger can cause bite problems: FACT
For starters, sucking a thumb or any other finger is absolutely normal and some babies even develop it as a habit before birth. If this habit does not break early (at the age of 2-3 years), bite problems are possible as it interferes with normal tooth rash and jaw growth. Extensive thumb sucking can also lead to the development of an “open bite,” which means that the teeth do not overlap when the child bites together.
10. Children cannot get periodontal disease: MYTH
Periodontal disease is among the most common oral health problems worldwide.
Bad habits of oral hygiene, poor nutrition, autoimmune diseases, certain medications: these are some of the factors related to periodontal disease in both adults and children. Never skip your child’s routine dental visits to detect even the first signs of gum disease.
11. Mild bleeding during brushing is normal in children: MYTH
It is disturbing that almost a quarter of parents perceive that bleeding gums during brushing is completely normal.
Mild bleeding in children can be a sign of brushing too hard and, therefore, damaging the gums or developing periodontal problems. Pay attention and check with your child’s pediatric dentist.
12. The application of dental sealants is painful for children: MYTH
Dental specialists say that getting a sealant is very easy, fast and does not hurt. How it works: 1) The tooth is cleaned and a gel can be placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds; 2) The tooth is rinsed and dried; 3) The sealer is painted and then turned on to help harden it and form a protective shield.
13. Children often have cavities because they have “soft teeth”: MYTH
Experts say that “soft teeth” do not exist, since everyone’s teeth are coated with the hardest substance in the human body, that is, enamel. In addition, caries is an infectious disease, very common in children. It is important that parents never forget that caries-forming bacteria feed on acids and sugar, so limiting such foods and beverages while maintaining proper oral hygiene is the reasonable way to protect children’s teeth from cavities.
14. Sweets are good as long as children brush their teeth immediately after: MYTH
Brushing is important, but it is not the best protector.
As mentioned earlier, brushing directly after eating is actually the worst time to do so, since the enamel softens with food acids and can wear out more easily. So give it 30-60 minutes to harden again.
15. It is not good to let children drink milk in a bottle overnight: FACT
The lactose found in cow’s milk and in many baby formulas is a type of sugar and, therefore, can put babies at risk of developing tooth decay. This risk increases during the night since when we sleep we produce less saliva to protect ourselves from decay. A good alternative to milk during sleepless nights would be water.
16. Fruit juices and smoothies are healthy snacks for children’s teeth: MYTH
There is no doubt that homemade fruit juices are a better alternative to coke or sweetened soft drinks, since at least they are not filled with artificial ingredients. However, don’t forget that fruits are full of fructose, natural fruit sugar. When they are pureed or juice, they lose their fibers and become a high fructose liquid. A glass of apple juice contains about seven teaspoons of sugar, which is almost the same as a cola. This fact, combined with the fact that they are often also highly acidic, makes fruit juices almost as harmful in terms of caries risk. Consider replacing juices with fresh fruits and opt for low-sugar options such as blueberries and strawberries.
17. Dried fruits are not a healthy snack for children’s teeth: FACT
Many children love sweet and sticky dried fruits. And a third of those surveyed with children see them as a perfectly healthy snack for their little ones.
In fact, dried fruits are very concentrated in the sugar of the fruit and its stickiness allows them to cling to the teeth for a longer time, creating the perfect conditions for the bacteria that cause decay to feed.
18. If children do not eat sweets, they will not have cavities: MYTH
Our digestive system begins to process food with the saliva that breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars, the bacteria that cause cavities feed. Therefore, frequent snacks become a risk factor for dental diseases, whether sweet or salty. Caries is an infectious disease, which means that it can also be transmitted to children of their mothers. In addition, sugary drinks also affect the teeth, so eliminating sweets is not, unfortunately, the universal path to a caries-free life.
19: Fluoride is harmful to children: MYTH
Some studies say that fluoride can help control tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to the action of bacteria and acids in food. However, there is no significant evidence that it impairs the development of children when used in the recommended doses. And although the answers are quite scattered, more respondents (33%) believe that fluoride is not harmful.
20. Defective teeth are passed from parents to children: MYTH
Such a small proportion of people can attribute their poor oral health to genes, so this statement is considered a myth by dental experts.
In general, caries susceptibility does not occur in families and almost all cases of caries can be prevented with a healthy diet, proper hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. However, avoid sharing cutlery or cleaning bottles, pacifiers, etc. of your baby in the mouth, since that is a way to transfer the bacteria that cause cavities.