Is Your Child’s Nail-biting Affecting Her Teeth?

Nail biting child on white background

Did you know that around 30% of kids between the ages of seven and 10 bite their nails? Yes, it’s true! Your child is not the only one who has this annoying and harmful habit. But whether your little one is doing this consciously or subconsciously, you should address it immediately because of the oral health and overall health consequences that you might not know about.

Here are some little-known risks that are associated with nail-biting:

Exposure to Disease-Causing Bacteria

You might not know it but your nails are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, including pathogenic ones like E. coli and Salmonella. When your little one bites his or her nails, those bacteria are transferred into your child’s mouth and they eventually spread to the rest of the body, leading to infections.

Susceptibility to Paronychia

Paronychia is a skin infection that occurs around the nails. When children chew their nails, bacteria and yeast, as well as other microorganisms, can find their way in through abrasions or tears. This may lead to redness, swelling, and even pus around the nail. This is a painful condition that may even require surgical draining.

Dental Problems

Nail biting can also affect dental occlusion or how the upper and lower teeth come together when the mouth is closed. Your child’s teeth may shift out of their proper position, get misshapen, and even wear down prematurely.

Nail-biting often starts in childhood and pea in adolescence. It usually declines with age. But that does not mean you just have to wait for your child to grow out of it.  Here are some things that you can try to help your child quit biting his or her nails:

  • Keep your child’s nails trimmed short
  • If your child will let you, make him or her wear gloves or mittens at home
  • If your child bites her nails because of boredom, you can engage her in activities that will keep her hands busy like knitting, colouring, painting, and more

It is important that as soon as your child is old enough to understand that you tell her the risks that go with nail-biting. More often than not, kids stop when they get an understanding that nail-biting is not as harmless a habit as they though it to be.

How to Prepare Your Child for Dental Visits

Little girl holding an artificial model of human jaw with dental braces in orthodontic office, smiling. Pediatric dentistry, aesthetic dentistry, early education and prevention concept.

Don’t you just love it when your child smiles? For most parents, their child’s smile is one of the best view in the world. That’s why parents also understand how important it is to keep that great smile healthy, and that can only be achieved by regularly visiting the dentist.

Unfortunately, most kids have apprehensions about going to the dentist’s office. That of course, is a mild interpretation of those tantrums a child throws complete with wailing, kicking, and sometimes even locking oneself in the room – at the mere mention of seeing the dentist.

There could be a lot of factors contributing to this anxiety, including fear of the unknown, or worse, fear of what an older sibling or friend had shared with him or her before. Whatever the reason for this anxiety is, it will be helpful if as parents, we do our part to prepare them for that very important visit. Here are some tips:

Start really early. Do not wait until his or her preschool years before visiting the dentist for the first time. By that time, your child will most probably have a made-up idea of how scary dentists are. How early should you go? As soon as the first set of teeth start to pop up.

Our dentists handle little patients, too. Not that there are dentists who hate kids. It’s just that it would help a lot if the dentist can make your child feel at ease during an appointment. It makes a lot of difference if a dentist is friendly with your kid and exerts effort to make the visit truly pleasant.

Set expectations honestly. Not knowing what to expect plays a big part to your child getting all stressed out about a visit to the dentist. You can calm their nerves by telling them about the procedure they’re getting, and perhaps some of your own experiences when you had the same procedure. (Unless you had a traumatic one, of course)

Give everything a positive spin. Instead of telling your child that a tooth would be extracted, why not say, the dentist has to make room for his new tooth to grow? You can make things sound easy. Assure your kids that they can do it. Let them know that you’ll be there every step of the way. You can even offer an incentive sometimes!

It is important for your child to develop good oral habits so they can keep that happy smile healthier, longer. We, at Pickering Square Dental can help you prepare your child for a visit that is going to be quite enjoyable, too!

Guide to Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Experts recommend that a child’s first dental visit should be by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in. Some dentists recommend that a child should see a dentist for the first time by their first birthday – with two-time annual dental check-ups. For toddlers, the first trip to the dentist might be a scary thing. Be sure that loud noises, new faces and strange instruments can make your child upset. Here are some things you need to do before your child’s first trip to the dentist. 

Health Information
It is best that you provide your child’s dentist with all of the medical conditions of your child, or if he or she is taking any medication. You should also keep your paediatrician’s contact information should the dentist need additional health information. If your child has a sucking habit, inform the dentist too, as that habit might affect your child’s teeth and jaws. 

It’s important to have a talk with your child as to what will happen. It’s best to practice brushing with your child before going to the dentist’s office, so that your child will be used to having a toothbrush in his or her mouth. 

The First Visit
The actual visit is going to be short and informal. The dentist will want to meet and greet the child for the first time, and to build some level of trust. Depending on your child’s age and comfort level, the parents might be asked to hold the child while the dentist looks around his or her mouth. The parents might also be asked to sit in the waiting room so the toddler can have some quality time with the dentist and staff on his or her own. 

The dentist will let you know when the next visit will be and this will be based on how your toddler’s teeth look. It is important not to miss out on your dentist’s appointment especially with your kids. 

Dr. Lean and the team are keen on providing comfortable dental services to both kids and adults. Contact us today if your kid needs to have his or her first dental visit. See you soon!