Children are notorious for their bad and well, let’s admit it, somewhat gross habits. It doesn’t take long to catch them wiping noses on their sleeve, putting fingers in their mouth and sneezing in each other’s faces. Children’s habits seem almost self-forming, but some very popular habits can actually result in poor dental health. From thumb-sucking to sippy cups and bottles, a child can be led down a path of poor dental care if these habits are not squashed early.
The most popular bad habit of them all. Thumb-sucking is an issue when it becomes a chronic habit in a child. Not only does it spread germs, but continual thumb-sucking poses dental issues as well. Most children do stop sucking their thumb before the age of four, but if the habit is not stalled it can lead to malocclusion (misalignment) which can require orthodontic treatment in the future.
Break The Habit: Early on, try to dissuade your child from sucking their thumb. Reminding them to remove their thumb every time they try to suck on it can be overwhelming, but consistency is the key. A few days or weeks of consistently intervening will probably diminish the behavior. Using a habit calendar or positive reinforcement can also be very helpful. If all else fails there are topical solutions to put on the thumb that leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
Sippy cups can be bottles in disguise. These sippy cups pose a problem because they don’t necessarily allow the child to sip; instead the child has to suck on the cup to get to the liquid inside.
Choose training cups carefully and once a child learns to sip, the training cup has served it’s purpose. You can find cups with leads that still allow a child to drink, but does not require them to suck on the dispenser.
Break The Habit: Don’t allow your child to walk around with the cup, be choosy about what you put in the cup and how frequently your child sips from the cup.
Bottle In Bed:
Sometimes, at the end of the day, you would give or do just about anything to get your child to fall asleep quickly and peacefully. A common remedy is to give your young one a bottle and let them fall to sleep with it.
Putting a child to sleep with a bottle of anything but water can lead to tooth decay and cavities. This includes milk. Many parents don’t realize that milk breaks down into sugar. The sugar in the fluids stays on the teeth and mixes with bacteria. Eventually, the acids eats through the enamel. Dentists may use the term “bottle mouth”.
This habit is not easy to break, but the end result will be worth it.
Break The Habit: Try diluting the liquid down each night until the end result is just water. Eventually, ease your child into falling asleep on his/her own. It doesn’t have to all be accomplished in one night, but start by taking the bottle out of their mouth just before they are sound asleep. They will fuss, but the end result will be seeing them learn to fall asleep on their own.
Does your child have a bad oral habit? If you have questions and you need answers, please feel welcome to contact us!