The term ‘soft teeth’ is tossed around a lot, and it can sound pretty concerning for any parent. But what exactly does having soft teeth mean? Is this even a real thing that affects children? We’re glad you asked! It turns out, the legend of soft teeth is one that your pediatric dentist in Long Island knows a thing or two about… and we would like to share that information with you.
Soft Teeth & Genetics
Let’s first take a look at what exactly people are talking about when they mention themselves or their child having soft teeth. Essentially, those with soft teeth believe that genetics resulted in weakened tooth enamel (or soft teeth) and, therefore, poorer oral health. Now, while there IS a condition that can cause teeth to form abnormally, it’s very rare and isn’t often observable. So with that said, what’s more likely to cause soft teeth?
Things That Contribute to ‘Soft Teeth’
We begin every patient’s visit with a thorough exam of their dental health by taking a good look at their teeth. If there are signs of decay or poor oral health, we need to figure out why. Knowing that genetically soft teeth are rare, we still won’t rule it out, but typically there’s another reason behind decaying teeth. Some of the most common reasons for decay and poor oral health in kids include:
- Oral Hygiene Habits – It’s important for everyone, children and adults alike, to brush thoroughly for at least two minutes twice a day as well as floss daily. If not, bad bacteria can build up in the mouth, acid will be produced, and protective tooth enamel is damaged, allowing decay to set in. However, it’s not only important to brush, but it’s also important to brush properly. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, tiny circles to effectively remove bacteria and plaque from teeth. Scrubbing too hard or with an incorrect tool can wear down enamel and once again leave teeth at greater risk for decay and cavities.
- Nutrition – A diet too high in sugar or acid can also contribute to poor oral health, decay, and cavities. You can still enjoy these foods but eat them in moderation. If your (or your child’s) teeth are constantly exposed to super sugary or highly acidic foods or drinks, the chance of decay greatly increases. Drinking plenty of water, eating plenty of fruits and veggies, and even snacking on cheese can all help protect your teeth.
- Fever – Not to give you one more thing to worry about when your child is sick, but a childhood fever can potentially negatively affect the development of their teeth. A severe fever can actually keep the cells that are responsible for remineralizing the teeth from doing their job effectively. This could cause lower amounts of minerals to be absorbed by teeth and, as a result, weaken enamel.
- Enamel Fluorosis – So this one really does sound like soft teeth. Probably because it kind of is. When a child takes in too much fluoride while their teeth are developing, teeth can erupt with fewer minerals and more weakened than other kids their age. Your Long Island pediatric dentist will be able to quickly identify if this is the case as soon as the teeth erupt, which is one more reason to schedule your child’s first dental appointment no later than his first birthday.
- Cross-Contamination – Bacteria that contribute to cavities can be passed from one person to another, most commonly from a parent to a child through sharing food, utensils, or cups. Reduce the risk of this happening by not sharing anything with your child that came in contact with your saliva. This includes toothbrushes.
We can certainly understand why some believe that they have soft teeth. But we want to make sure that we’re able to accurately diagnose the cause of poor dental health so we can properly treat it. It’s best to talk with your dentist or your child’s pediatric dentist in Long Island to find the best course of action for your family’s oral health.