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A child’s oral habits definitely have a bearing on the development of occlusion. Sometimes, children acquire certain habits that may either temporarily or permanently be harmful to dental occlusion.
Habits Acquired as a Result of Repetition
Habits can be classified in various ways:
Thumb and Digit Sucking
This is commonly seen in children. Presence of this habit is quite normal until the child is 3-4 years old. However, the persistence of this habit beyond this age can lead to malocclusion. Effect of thumb-sucking can be detrimental to a child’s teeth inclination, can lead to the upper teeth inclining forward, open bite (a condition in which teeth do not come in contact even when the jaws are closed).
A lot of times, this habit is seen as a result of a psychological issue. In order to manage this problem, visit a dentist as they can help your child get rid of this habit through a psychological, mechanical or, chemical approach.
Tongue Thrust Habit
This is a condition in which the child gets into the habit of touching his front teeth with tongue during swallowing. The effect of this habit can be on the inclination of the teeth. Some possible problems include anterior proclination of teeth, anterior open bite, posterior open bite. It also depends on the types of tongue thrust.
You can manage it by teaching your child the correct method of swallowing, and different muscle exercises may also help. If all this doesn’t help, visit your dentist and go for a habit breaking appliance.
Mouth Breathing Habits
This could be a result of partial obstruction in the nasal passage like deviated nasal septum, polyps, inflammation of nasal mucosa or obstructive adenoids.
If your child is mouth breathing, it could affect dental caries, or cause inflammation in gums because of dryness of the mouth.
You can resolve this problem by removal of the obstruction from the nasal passage.
It means grinding of teeth for a non-functional purpose usually while sleeping. It could be because of any psychological stress in the child, and sometimes periodontal pain also triggers bruxism. Effects of bruxism could be wearing of teeth, can cause fracture of teeth or any restoration, or mandibular joint pain.
You can help your child by psychological counselling and a night guard appliance to prevent occlusal wear.
Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to prevent such habits and safeguard your child’s oral development.
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