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Parenting Behaviors that Lead to Junior’s Dental Problems

A majority of parents and caregivers are dedicated to their efforts of doing the best in order to raise their charges and part of that process includes taking the dental care of their children seriously. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to snuff in regards to the parenting skills/oral health equation and as a result, children are suffering the consequences of tooth decay and unnecessary tooth sensitivity.

Parents Contribute to Mountain Dew Mouth

Having a “Coke and a smile” has long been considered a favorite American past time. However, Appalachian parents tend to take the philosophy a bit to far and provide Mountain Dew as the beverage of choice to their thirsty children. That decision has lead to a large percentage of children in the region to suffer from the condition called “Mountain Dew Mouth,” which is marked by a disproportionate level of dental problems in youths. According to the Center for Disease Control, the Appalachian region is America’s number one spot for toothlessness, tooth decay and cavities.

In Appalachia, Mountain Dew (a soda known for having twice as much caffeine as most traditional soft drinks) is consumed with more frequency than water. That stimulant combined with the beverage’s sugar content, high acidic levels and the behavior surrounding how the soda is consumed has lead to major dental problems.

Within the region it is common for parents to use the product and other sodas as make shift antidepressants and opt to fill their babies’ bottles with the liquid in order to calm crying or agitated children. Additionally, older fans of the drink tend to sip on one cola all day long. Both behaviors leave trace elements of sugar on teeth resulting in masses of oral bacteria that consume the sugar and produce acids as a by-product. When left unchecked, that by-product is responsible for eroding tooth enamel and increasing the odds of locals developing the condition.

In this region, a lack of education in regards to oral hygiene, dental care and dental health is being blamed for the parent’s erroneous behavior.

Excessive Tooth Bleaching Not Making Kids Smile

One of the worst insults to a parent (regardless of gender) is being called a “stage mother.” That title has long been associated with the belief that the parent is vicariously living out her dreams of fame and fortune through her child. One reality show that exposes the debauchery of this behavior is Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC.

Recently, one pageant circuit mom stated she bleached the teeth of her 5 and 8 year old kids and admitted that she does so on a weekly basis regardless of if her kids are competing or not. This revelation came as the mother said she was fine with the practice and preferred it to making the kids wear false teeth (called “flippers”) as “because you’re literally altering what God gave them,” (http://www.styleite.com/beauty/toddlers-and-tiaras-teeth-bleaching-video/). The video shows the kids whimpering, trying to block the bleach application and stating that the taste is awful.

Aside from the potential physiological damage the mother may be causing her children, she is also increasing the odds of her children suffering from dental problems. Excessive tooth whitening can lead to issues such as intense tooth sensitivity and erosion of tooth enamel. Additionally, too much tooth bleaching can make teeth “…brittle, dehydrated and more vulnerable to staining,” (1-800-DENTIST).

Parent’s Smoking Causes Cavities In Kids

Everyone has a vice or two, but those who choose to smoke are not only damaging their own dental health, but that of their innocent children. Smoking increases levels of oral bacteria and dental plaque and ups the chances of a smoker developing tooth decay. Once that parent kisses their child, they pass the curse onto their offspring.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that a by-product of nicotine called cotinine is the culprit. Their research showed that the 32 percent of kids with higher cotinine levels had tooth decay on their baby teeth. Kissing is the act that would easily allow for an easy transfer of the compound.

Parents and caregivers concerned that their innocent behaviours may be damaging the dental health of their children should seek the advice of their dentist for more information.

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