Bad Oral Habits that Can Hurt Your Child’s Teeth

Bad Oral Habits that Can Hurt Your Child’s Teeth

Posted by San Pedro Pediatric Medical Group on Nov 19 2022, 11:00 PM

Good dental hygiene starts at home. Parents should teach their children how to brush and floss their teeth. This will help them maintain healthy teeth and teach them about the importance of oral hygiene. However, there are certain habits that can badly affect your child's oral health. Here are some of them.

  • Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a habit that can be hard to break, even after your child realizes that it's inappropriate behavior. However, this habit can affect the natural alignment of the teeth, affect the child's speaking or chewing abilities, or cause overbite. Fortunately, however, there are a few ways to get a child to stop thumb-sucking. Here are some tips:

  • Permanently stop thumb-sucking by taping a small piece of gauze over the thumb so the child can't access it with their mouth.
  • You can also put mittens on your child's hands at night to keep them from holding the thumb in their mouths while sleeping.

If your child is older and still hasn't stopped thumb-sucking on their own, you can work with a dentist who offers behavioral services to help your child quit this bad habit once and for all. When you take your child to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups, they can help reinforce the message that thumb-sucking is a bad habit that is affecting their teeth. A dentist can offer positive reinforcement of your child's efforts to stop thumb-sucking and provide suggestions on how to resist the urge to suck on the thumb. For more advice on breaking your child's thumb-sucking habit, contact our family dentist near you.

  • Nail Biting

If your child is biting his or her nails, explain to them that this is actually a bad habit since it puts their teeth and gums at risk. This is because nail biting can lead to teeth misalignment or sensitivity. Also, it may cause your child to develop digestive problems because bacteria can get into the stomach and intestines through the mouth.

Your child may bite their nails because of stress, nervousness, boredom, or anxiety. Try to help them deal with these things in productive ways, such as through exercise, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. You can also tell your child about how nail biting can affect their teeth. For example, it can increase their risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, and other oral health problems.

If your child can't stop this habit on their own, the most important thing is to talk to your dentist for help. He or she can recommend different options that can help make your child feel ready to stop this bad habit.

  • Chewing on Pencils

Pencils are hard and made out of wood or plastic, which can damage teeth if chewed on for too long. Chewing on a pencil can lead to broken or chipped teeth and can cause damage to crowns and fillings. If you notice your child chewing their pencil, encourage them to quit it at the earliest. 

  • Taking Too Many Sugary Foods

Candy, soda, and other sweets may seem like treats that your child can enjoy all day. Unfortunately, these foods are full of sugar, which can harm the child's teeth and lead to cavities. Instead, try to offer healthier snacks like carrots, apples, or cheese sticks. This can help your child get the nutrients he or she needs without harming oral health.

  • Not Visiting Dentist Regularly.

Most children often do not visit their dentist frequently. Your child's dentist is trained to recognize signs of poor oral health that may not be noticeable to you as a parent. Regular checkups allow a dentist to see if your child needs braces, if his or her teeth are developing properly and whether there are any cavities in the teeth that have not yet grown out. If your child is experiencing issues with his or her teeth or gums, the sooner you see a dentist, the better. At the first sign of trouble, make an appointment with the dentist's office.

CallSan Pedro Pediatric Medical Groupat (310) 832-6487 or schedule an online appointment to learn more taking care of your child's oral health.

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