Bad Habits in Children
Last year two of my friends came with their toddlers to spend a few days with me. Both of them were dentists. Since they were my guests and in order to help them I was the one who was responsible for getting their toddlers’ feeders ready in time. One of my friend’s 1.5 years old kid was used to having fresh milk with no added sugar since he turned 8 months of age while the other friend’s 1 year old kid was dependent on powdered milk with added sugar along with mother’s feed.
I was surprised to notice the vivid difference in their milk regime types. On inquiring the reason one of them said to follow the simple rule — no sugar means no caries in teeth and boiled fresh milk causes no colic after 8 months in kids’ stomach. While the other one at once realized and admitted that it was the sweetened milk that caused caries in her 4 years old baby’s teeth and she would try to change her 1 year old kid’s sweetened milk habit. Later she told me that she had to go through a tough time to switch her child from sweetened milk to natural flavored milk.
Let me clarify why I have delineated the story here. Both of the mothers were dentists but one was applying the knowledge on her kids and training them while the other one was only raising the kids. So if you are a well-informed mom and you are applying your knowledge on your kids, you can raise them better than many others.
Being a Doctor I have seen child patients with a lot of bad oral and eating habits which cast a deep impression on their personalities and teeth. Here I will mention all of them. You can take some precautionary measures to avoid these Bad habits in children before they develop them.
No Sweetened Milk
Do not introduce your child to sweetened milk. This will save your child’s primary teeth from rampant caries after the age of 3. Milk already possesses the required amount of sugars in it.
No Feeder In A Sleeping Child’s Mouth
Do not let your child sleep with a feeder in his mouth. Make sure as soon as the child finishes the milk, he takes out feeder from his mouth too. This will save the child’s primary teeth from caries and also save the child’s maxilla and palate from the extra pressure that may result into maxillary protrusion and protruded anterior teeth.
No Hand Sucking From The Start
Do not let your child develop a habit of hand sucking, finger sucking or thumb sucking, especially during the teething process which starts from 4 to 9 months of age depending upon the child’s teeth development. Once the child is comfortable with this bad habit, this will become a part of his comfort zone and in later stages of life, it will become difficult to get rid of this habit. This habit affects teeth alignment, palatal depth and skeletal development of maxilla and mandible. Use mittens to stop your child at the early age of his life.
No Tongue-Tooth Obsession
As the child passes his first birthday, many of them develop a habit of touching their teeth with their tongues. Always stop them from doing so. This habit if prolonged will damage the alignment of permanent teeth at the age of 6 and above.
No Pencil In The Mouth
Children develop the habit of putting pencils in their mouths and pressing their teeth with them. Always discourage them. This habit in later stage becomes a big reason for misaligned front upper teeth and also becomes an extension of eating ballpoint caps and sometimes nail biting during the times of deep thinking or stress.
No Lousiness Of Brushing From 1 Year Onwards
Develop the habit of brushing right from one year of age of your child. Before that teach your child to use lukewarm water and salt rinses or dilute chlorhexidine mouthwash after the food and sweet intake. Teach him the right brushing technique. The children should be taught to brush their teeth right after eating a candy or chocolate while brushing after breakfast and before bed is mandatory. Learn proper brushing technique either from your hygienist or watch videos online. You do not want to be a bad teacher of your child. So follow the discipline and the technique for brushing the teeth.
No Dependence Of Liquid Or Semi Liquid Food Only
Train your children to chew grated/small cut/mashed vegetables and fruits rather than giving them liquids or semi liquid food only. Most of the parents face the problem when children show noncompliance towards healthy eating (chewing), the reason being mums have never trained them to eat vegetables and fruits in their early age. So train them right from the 6th to 7th month of their life. Eating fruit and vegetables helps the children fasten and facilitate their teething process. Fruits and vegetables help the kids chew and masticate. This way, by continuous mastication, the plaque does not get accumulated on the occlusal surface of child’s primary teeth.
No Packed Food But Home Made Cereals
After the age of 6 months, start giving your child salted wheat or barley cereals. So that in later age he can eat whole wheat and barley bread. Cereals are very important in diet as they contain fibre and important minerals. The kind of lifestyle we are now used to promotes obesity in adolescence. The lack of minerals, vitamins and fibre in food is a major reason for it.
No Candy Shopping
Do not introduce your child to sodas, fizzy drinks, packet chips and candies. This will develop them a habit of munching and will be a reason for weight gain and nutritional deficiencies in their bodies and caries in their teeth. Fizzy drinks are considered as bone killers.
Toilet Training By The Age Of Two
Develop a timely toilet training, that is, start it from 1.5 years and onwards. Starting before 1.5 years and with a strict mode will develop a narrow and overtly disciplined personality of your child while delaying the toilet training after 3 years of age will make your child unorganized and lousy.
No Gadget Dependency
Do not let your child watch television for long hours or play with tablets or gadgets all the time. This may develop ADHD in your child. Playing with gadgets may make your child antisocial. Parents may think that this makes their child smart but it overshadows other important elements of the personality like, self-esteem, initiative and leadership.
Talk To Your Kid:
Communicate with your child even when he is few months old. This is the only way he will become receptive and learn to talk. The more your child is receptive the more intelligent he becomes. Talking with your toddler is a must. Communication is the key to a healthy brought up.
Feeder Along With Mother’s Milk
Most of the mothers make a big mistake of nursing their kids but not introducing them with feeder right from the first month of their birth. They face the brunt later when feeder along with the mother’s milk becomes mandatory. So, if you are planning to nurse your child, then do not forget to introduce your child once a day with bottled milk after three weeks of their birth. Make your child befriend feeder even if you are nursing your child.