As a parent, you’re most likely familiar with many of these common habits your children have. You probably made use of pacifiers and baby bottles to help them relax and to make sure they got fed properly. However, letting them use these devices or practice these habits for too long can negatively affect their developing teeth, according to your children’s dentist in Marble Falls.
Having a healthy smile is far more important than letting them keep habits for years longer than they should be. Keep reading to learn how these habits can affect their primary teeth and when they should stop.
Did you know that your child first started sucking their thumb in the womb? It’s considered to be one their natural reflexes. They may also suck on their fingers or other objects to make them feel more secure and happy. Unfortunately, prolonged thumb-sucking can cause problems with mouth growth and the alignment of their teeth. They may also experience changes in the roof of their mouth and, if they’re aggressive thumb-suckers, problems with their primary teeth.
Most children stop thumb-sucking between the ages of two and four, but if they don’t, parents should discourage it. Just make sure you don’t pressure them too much, as this could do more harm rather than help them. The best way to help them is to explain the harm that continuous sucking will do. If necessary, ask your children’s dentist in Marble Falls to explain to them what can happen if they don’t quit.
At a very young age, it’s common for infants to suck on pacifiers to help them relax. When they’re relaxed, they’re more capable of observing the world around them. When you offer your child a pacifier, make sure it is a clean one. Avoid dipping it in sugar, honey, or any other sweetener so it doesn’t contribute to cavities.
Pacifiers can affect children’s mouths in the same way thumb-sucking can, so you’ll need to help them break the habit of using them regularly if they do. Luckily, this habit should be much easier to break than thumb-sucking.
While bottle-feeding your child is generally more convenient, there are some downsides. For one, there’s the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when you allow your child to suck on baby bottle throughout the day, prolonging their exposure to formula or fruit juice. Both these drinks contain high amounts of sugar, which contribute heavily to tooth decay.
Furthermore, many cases of prolonged bottle use tend to create problems associated with teeth alignment, open bites, cross bites, and over bites. This is because the act of sucking milk through a bottle does not require jaw muscle to do.
To prevent decay, don’t let them suck on a bottle all day, unless there’s only water inside it. If you do give them milk or juice, monitor their consumption. Avoid giving them a bottle when putting them to bed, unless it only contains water.
If you’re looking for more advice on helping your child break a habit, schedule an appointment with your children’s dentist in Brady today!
About the Author
Dr. Greg Ritchie earned his dental degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He then completed a one-year residency at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital where he received specialty training in numerous fields of dentistry. To learn more about his pediatric dental treatments, contact him at either of his practices via his website here.