Most adults know that they need to do everything they can to take care of their teeth. Unfortunately, when it comes to their children's teeth, they only focus on brushing and flossing daily. That is only part of the battle in making sure your children have good oral health. Here are three habits that are bad for your child's teeth.

1. Biting their fingernails.

Biting fingernails is one of those habits that is hard to break - especially for kids. No matter why your child forms the habit of biting their fingernails, you need to try to stop it once you have noticed your child doing it. Why? Because not only is it unsanitary, but it can also cause gingivitis and lead to your child chipping their teeth. 

You may think that it's fine for your child to bite their fingernails while they have their baby teeth, but this habit can follow them long after their permanent teeth come in. So, instead of ignoring the issue when they are younger, you should discourage it from the beginning. Perhaps if you explain to your child what can happen to their teeth if they continue biting their nails, they will give up the habit more easily.

2. Drinking sugary drinks all day without brushing or rinsing teeth afterward.

Another habit that can cause a lot of damage to your child's teeth is drinking a lot of sugary drinks throughout the day without brushing afterward. The reason is because the sugar that is found in these drinks combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid. The acid then eats away at your tooth enamel and eventually leads to tooth decay.

Of course, the best thing is to kick the sugary drink habit to the curb entirely. However, having your child cut back to only drinking them once or twice a day and then brushing their teeth afterward can definitely help prevent the enamel erosion and tooth decay.

3. Using their teeth as a tool.

Most people, not just kids, tend to use their teeth as some sort of tool. Whether you use them to loosen a tight bottle lid or to hold something when two hands just isn't enough to carry everything - using your teeth as a tool causes great harm to them.

Not only can using your teeth as a tool cause them to crack or chip, it can also lead to jaw alignment problems and possibly even jaw pain. Also, if the teeth have weak roots, using them to open things can cause the teeth to fall out entirely.

It can be difficult to get kids to break the habit of using their teeth as a tool - especially if they see you doing it regularly. Once using their teeth as a tool becomes a habit, your child will likely do it without even thinking about it. So, whenever you catch them using their teeth to open, cut, or carry something, you need to strongly discourage that habit. And, if you have that habit yourself, you should also kick it to the curb. After all, kids tend to learn more by example than being lectured.

To learn more, contact a pediatric dentist like Russell Pollina, DDS