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Negative Habits That Could Affect Your Child's Oral Health

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As your child grows, they may develop habits that could affect their oral health even into adulthood. Here are a few negative childhood habits that may affect your little one's gums and teeth.

Nail biting

Even young children sometimes bite their nails. Since the fingernails are often harder than many foods your child's eats, the excessive bite pressure that is used during nail biting may be too much for your youngster's teeth to withstand without incurring a crack or chip.

If your child's tooth is damaged from nail biting, the harm to the tooth could make an extraction necessary, especially if the tooth is cracked completely through its roots. Also, cracks in a child's tooth enamel can allow bacteria to enter the tooth. The bacteria may infect the tooth, necessitating a pulpectomy or an extraction.

Once a baby tooth is lost ahead of time, the resulting gap in the mouth can allow the other teeth to shift, leaving too little room for the adult teeth to present in a straight configuration. The crowding that results may make your child's future teeth more prone to decay. Additionally, your child may eventually require an orthodontic correction to straighten their teeth.

Nevertheless, nail biting not only affects the teeth, but it also affects the gums. The gingival tissues can easily incur cuts and abrasions as the sharp fingernails enter the interdental spaces. In some cases, the nails may even become caught beneath the gums, inciting an infection.

Thumb sucking

Kids may also suck their thumbs. Thumb sucking may begin in the womb and continue throughout early childhood. As a child sucks a finger or thumb, pressure is applied to the front teeth and the roof of the mouth.

The front teeth may begin to buck forward. Additionally, the pressure on the roof of the mouth may force it upward, narrowing the upper palate. The side teeth of the upper palate should meet the side teeth of the lower jaw when the mouth closes. However, thumb sucking can make the upper palate too narrow to permit the side teeth of both jaws to meet as they should, causing a crossbite. In order to correct the bite and alignment issues caused by thumb sucking, your child may have to wear braces or another orthodontic appliance. 

If your child has developed habits that may negatively impact their oral health, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in your local area. The dental professional can offer advice to help your child overcome the bad habits and avert future problems.