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How To Break Bad Oral Habits with Your Orthodontist in Powell

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child sucking their thumbEveryone has bad habits, and that’s perfectly alright, because we’re all human! However, for young children with developing teeth, certain behaviors can cause major dental problems down the line that are easily preventable. Do you have a child that just won’t stop sucking their thumb or biting their fingernails? If so, then you’re far from alone, and your orthodontist in Powell is here to help by offering a few simple tips you can start to use right away.

Thumb/Finger Sucking

It’s adorable when babies do it, but once a child’s teeth start coming in, this seemingly innocuous habit can easily throw off their alignment and prevent the jaw from developing correctly. After this has happened, usually the only way to fix it is with braces in Powell. Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can help your child stop, and they don’t involve punishments or negative techniques like using a bad tasting nail polish.

Firstly, most children suck their thumb/finger because they are nervous or afraid, and figuring out what is causing these feelings can help you and your child find new ways to cope with these emotions. Or, for more stubborn children, our orthodontists can place a small appliance in their mouth that actually prevents them from sucking their thumb/finger, and after a few weeks, they will break the habit on their own.

Fingernail Biting

Much like thumb sucking, children tend to bite their nails whenever they feel a bit anxious and/or bored. This can expose their mouth to the germs on their hands, getting them sick, plus the constant gnawing can severely wear down their enamel as well.

One easy thing you can do is keep your child’s nails very trimmed so that there is nothing to chew on. Or, you can try putting bandages on their fingertips. If your child persists despite your efforts, it’s best to talk to their doctor, as nail chewing can sometimes be a symptom of OCD.

Chewing on Ice

Munching on ice cubes after finishing a cold drink is a quick way to crack a tooth, and if your child has braces, this can easily dislodge a bracket or damage a wire as well.

If your child just likes frosty beverages, items like popsicles and slushies offer a safer alternative to drinks with ice cubes. You can also advise your child to just suck on the cubes rather than chew them.

Opening Packages with the Teeth

With Christmas just around the corner, your child will likely be receiving presents wrapped in quite a bit of packaging. Many resort to using their teeth to free whatever is contained inside, but this can often lead to chipped enamel and hurting mouths.

The easy answer to this problem is to simply grab the scissors! If your child is too young to use scissors on their own, have them hold your hand while you cut open whatever they want. This will have the added bonus of showing them how to use the scissors while preserving their teeth.

We’re Here to Help!

Of course, every child is unique, so figuring out the best way to help them overcome a bad habit will depend on their personality, temperament, and stage of development. If you’re having difficulties on your own, know that the team at Shirck Orthodontics is always here for you. Many of our team members are parents themselves, and we’ve helped countless young patients break habits just like these over the years. Feel free to give us a call anytime, and we’ll be more than happy to offer advice and answer your questions.