Management of Oral Habits

As we have learned from our previous blog post, Oral Surgeon San Diego habits are pretty common, especially for young kids. We’ve also discussed how these habits can cause unsightly changes to teeth and/or jaws.

In this second article, we will now focus on treatment.

Thumb Sucking:

First of all, you should know that thumb sucking is actually a self-soothing habit for kids, but it can be detrimental to the alignment of the teeth in the long run.

In most cases, kids simply grow out of it without any intervention, while others just can’t bring themselves to stop it.

Discontinuation should occur spontaneously and not forced upon the child. Once the habit is completely stopped, only then can definitive treatment be rendered.

Oral Habits are good for you

The sooner or earlier the habit is stopped, the more likely the changes that occurred will correct itself. One way to do so is by counseling the kid.

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The success of counseling depends on the kid’s level of understanding – that is, his or her ability to understand the troubles thumb sucking can cause. Counseling is, therefore, more appropriate for older kids.

Besides counseling, another approach is the so-called reminder therapy. This is for kids who need additional help in stopping the habit. It involves putting a cue – can be a bandage, a bitter substance, etc. – on the patient’s finger to serve as a reminder that they should not put their finger into their mouth. But be sure to emphasize over and over again that the cue is a just reminder and not some sort of punishment.

Also, praising the kid for stopping the habit can help a lot. If either counseling and reminder therapy prove to be ineffective, only then will the installation of preventive appliances be necessary.

Tongue Thrusting:

Management of tongue thrusting comes in two methods.

The other approach is by training the patient to change his or her swallowing pattern. This is achieved through a series of exercises called the orofacial myofunctional therapy. Such method sorts of “re-educate” the muscles into following the right swallowing pattern. The orofacial myofunctional therapy offers high and long-term success rate.

Lip Sucking:

There really isn’t much we can do to stop the lip sucking habit; nonetheless, steroids and antibiotic ointments may be applied to provide relief on irritated areas.

Bruxism:

Intervention is usually not necessary since most kids outgrow bruxism. But for those who don’t, there are a couple of treatments that can help. These include fabrication of mouthguards, performing stress-reducing exercises, removal of interferences on biting surfaces of the teeth, and referral to appropriate specialists to rule out any medical or psychological problems.

The first step is consulting your dentist to determine which of these options would be most appropriate for you or your kid’s case.

Nail Biting

The simplest, most practical solution to this habit is applying nail polish to discourage the practice. Behavioral therapy may also be helpful, but kids would probably prefer nail polish since it can also make their nails look attractive.

How Oral Habits Affect Your Dentition

Oral Surgeon San Marcos habits are commonly observed mainly among babies, young children, and in adults as well. Not only do these habits cause unsightly damage to the teeth and/or jaws, but they can also be expensive to repair or dangerous if left untreated.

That is why it is important to address any undesirable Oral Surgeon San Marcos habit as soon as possible. Intervention can be something as simple as patient education and behavior modification but oftentimes, the use of dental appliances is necessary.

With all these in mind, we have come up with this list of most common oral habits and why they should be discontinued if you want to keep that nice, sparkly smile.

Thumb Sucking:

Thumb sucking, or finger sucking in general, is the most common oral habit especially in young children although they tend to outgrow it at about age five.

This habit, especially if it has persisted for long, can cause problems such as (but not limited to) open bite of the front teeth, flared upper incisors, tipping of lower incisors, misalignment of the future permanent teeth, and deformities of the roof of the mouth.

These problems vary in intensity, and are dependent on factors such as the aggressiveness, duration, and frequency of the habit and the position of the thumb in the mouth.

Lip Sucking:

Like thumb sucking, lip suck is another common Oral San Marcos habit in young children.

It often results to chapped, inflamed lips. This results to these teeth not being in contact with each other when the mouth closes.

Tongue Thrusting:

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Infants exhibit this habit up to six months of age at which point they lose this reflex to give them the ability to chew solid foods. But if it persists, tongue thrusting can lead to open bite and other orthodontic problems.

Bruxism:

Bruxism pertains to the non-functional grinding of teeth, which usually occurs during sleep. It affects patients of all ages.

Children, in particular, also grind their teeth even when awake.

1) systemic factors like stress, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic disorders, allergies, mental retardation, and musculoskeletal problems,

2) local factors include high restorations that interfere with biting and chewing.

Grinding erodes the tooth enamel and therefore results to increased susceptibility to decay and faster wear of teeth. It also leads to jaw pain.

Chewing Ice:

Munching on ice cubes may seem like a harmless habit, but unfortunately it can crack, chip the enamel of your tooth.

Nail Biting:

Your nails are no exception. Aside from potentially cracking or chipping the tooth enamel and restorations (if any), it can also expose you to the bacteria that thrives under your nails. Infection can occur, and while it is not necessarily bad for your teeth, it is bad for your overall health.