2 Detrimental Dental Habits Of Childhood And How To Overcome Them

When your child is small, your youngster knows little about what is best for his or her teeth. As a result, your little one may participate in habits that can incite dental problems that may follow him or her as the child grows. Here are a few dental habits that are detrimental to your child's oral health and some ways to help discourage your child from participating in them:

Sucking the Thumb

When a child sucks his or her thumb, especially as a baby, you may view it as cute. Many children begin sucking their thumb before they ever exit their mother's womb. However, as a child grows and his or her palate continues to develop, the pressure placed on the palate by the thumb during episodes of sucking can distort the shape of the palate and change the way that the teeth present.

The pressure may cause the front teeth to buck forward and become gapped. Although the resulting misalignment may be corrected with braces, it could be avoided by stopping the thumb-sucking habit.

To discourage your child from sucking his or her thumb, be sure that the youngster's little hands are busy with other things, such as small toys. In addition, if the child is old enough not to swallow the gum inadvertently, offer your youngster sugarless gum between meals. By keeping his or her mouth occupied, your child will be less likely to suck his or her thumb.

Soothing with a Bottle at Times of Rest

Many children find it soothing to suck on a bottle of warm milk as they are falling asleep. Although this particular habit is usually more prevalent among babies and toddlers, it will still impact any teeth that have already presented.

As little teeth are bathed consistently in milk, they become more susceptible to decay. The bacteria in the mouth feed on the milk and produce acid that demineralizes little teeth to cause cavities.

When a child is at rest, there is less saliva produced to help rinse away the milk and delete any acid in the mouth. Additionally, your child's swallowing reflex is reduced.

To help eliminate bottle-related to decay, it is best to wean your child as early as possible. In addition, while your child is still on the bottle, refrain from placing juice or milk in the bottle at times of rest. Use only water.

To learn more ways to protect your child's oral health, schedule an appointment with a general dentist.