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SW: Parenting Channel
Reported August 9, 2012

Tooth Truth - 5 Myths

DURHAM, N.C (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Did you know that how healthy your teeth are now depends on how healthy they were when you were a child? In fact, one study found if you have cavities between your molars as a child, your risk of having the same type of cavities in adulthood is nearly 90 percent! But there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to keeping kids’ teeth healthy.

Audrey Baright has been in the dentist’s chair a lot over the past few months. She’s had eight cavities filled, despite what her parents thought were good dental habits.

"What did we do differently that caused 8 cavities to come in six months?" Herbert Baright, Audrey’s dad asked.

Like many parents, the Barights weren’t aware that good dental health is not just about good dental hygiene. One common myth is that cavities form where you can see them. All of Audrey’s cavities formed in between her teeth where sticky, sugary treats got stuck.

"They don’t feel it, so the child’s not aware that the food is stuck between their teeth," Martha Ann Keels, DDS, Ph.D., Pediatric Dentist at Duke University Medical Center told Ivanhoe.

Myth number two is that brushing is better than flossing. Dr. Keels tells parents if they only do one, it’s better to floss. Your tongue acts like a natural brush, but nothing is a substitute for floss. Another myth is that babies don’t need to go to the dentist.

"You should have a dental home, no different than a medical home, by age 1," Dr. Keels said.

You should also brush your baby’s teeth with water at first, then fluoride toothpaste once they can spit it out. Also, floss as soon as two teeth touch. Myth number four is that baby teeth aren’t that important because you’ll lose them anyway.

"They’re place card holders for the adult teeth underneath them," Dr. Keels said.

If baby teeth rot or have to be pulled, permanent teeth shift and come in crooked. Another myth: is that dental health doesn’t affect academics. A recent study found children with cavities missed three-times as many school days because of pain and did not perform as well.

Audrey now avoids sticky foods and flosses every day.

Dr. Keels says try to avoid all sticky, sugary foods. Some she worries about most are dried fruits, fruit roll-ups, gummies (even gummy vitamins), cereal bars and granola bars. She says treats like chocolate and ice cream are a better choice because they melt in your mouth and don’t stick in your teeth.

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