As a natural, self-soothing reflex, infants and toddlers often require some sort of sucking motion beyond that of what they receive for nourishment. Because of this, many parents resort to the pacifier and many children resort to thumb sucking. However, this behavior, if prevalent in children older than 3 or 4, can be detrimental to not only the oral health of the child, but the shape of the mouth, speech patterns, and more. The effect that these behaviors have on the oral health is usually determined by how often, how hard and how long the habit occurs, but common results are:
- Anterior Open Bite
- Constricted Upper Jaw
- Flaring Incisors
- Teeth Misalignment
The important thing to remember when trying to break your child of a habit is that positive reinforcement is much more effective as far as breaking the habit, and is also much more beneficial for the emotional and mental health of the child. While it is important to remember that most children are capable of breaking their habits with simple physical reminders like bitter nail polish or band-aids, others may need more help and encouragement, and no two children will break a habit in the same way.
Contact our pediatric dental group today for more information on habit counseling. See how our dentists and dental services at Encino Pediatric Dental Group can not only help your child’s oral health when it has been damaged by pacifier or thumb sucking, but we can also help you help your child break those habits in an understanding, patient and productive way. Call our children’s dentistry office in Encino, CA now to schedule your consultation with Dr. Parnaz Mansouri and Dr. Joseph Curtin today!