3 Dangerous Oral Habits You Should Prevent Your Child From Engaging In

When the average parent thinks about maintaining their child's oral health, regular brushing and dental visits are often the main focus.  While important, there are a number of bad habits that can actually put your child's oral health in jeopardy not just during their childhood years, but also into adulthood. Make sure your child isn't engaging in any dangerous habits.

Nail Biting

If your little one makes it a habit to bite their nails, don't let them continue. Tooth enamel is tough; however, it doesn't exactly start off this way. During the early years, your child's tooth enamel is more delicate. When they frequently bite their nails, this puts their delicate enamel at risk for damage.

Damaged enamel can leave the root of the tooth exposed, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Particularly if you have a smaller child, it can be difficult to keep them from biting their nails. However, if you make it a point to keep their nails trimmed, they won't have anything to bite.  

Swallowing Toothpaste

Child-friendly toothpaste brands come in flavors like grape, watermelon and even bubblegum. Consequently, it's no wonder some children don't think twice about swallowing any leftover toothpaste after brushing; however, it's important that you discourage them from this habit as it is not harmless. The problem is that when they swallow the toothpaste, this increases their fluoride intake.

When an individual consumes too much fluoride, this can cause fluorosis, a condition caused by overexposure to fluoride. This condition can cause staining of the teeth and pits in the teeth that are easily recognizable. If necessary, help your child rinse their mouth to ensure they are swallowing any toothpaste.

Thumb Sucking

In order to calm stress or fears, some children develop a thumb sucking habit. Thumb sucking can cause misalignment problems that aren't always restricted to their baby teeth. These problems can transition into their adult years. Regular thumb sucking causes the front teeth to shift forward. In addition to the aesthetic concerns, misalignment can also lead to chewing and pronunciation difficulties for your child.

If your child is having a hard time dropping this habit, there are a number of things you can do to assist with the transition. Speaking with your child about the consequences of thumb sucking and minimizing anxiety triggers are just some of the methods you can introduce to eliminate this dangerous habit.

If you're concerned about any of your child's habits, don't hesitate to speak with their dental provider. A dentist can further discuss any dangers and assist you with ending the child's bad habits.