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How Does Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth? Your Dentist Explains

October 3, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — drcoughlin @ 9:00 pm

baby with pacifierIt’s natural for young children to suck on things. In fact, thumb sucking often begins in the womb. Your little one may find the sucking to be comforting, and it can help them cope with stressful or unfamiliar situations. However, this habit, if it continues after your child’s permanent teeth start to come in, can cause damage. Similarly, baby bottles and pacifiers can also be bad for your little one’s oral health. But how exactly does sucking on things affect a child’s teeth? Your dentist in Richardson is here to explain.

Thumb Sucking and Tooth Development Problems

If your child constantly sucks their thumb, the pressure can influence the way the teeth develop; they might protrude outward, causing an open bite. The problem can affect infant teeth as well as permanent ones and might require that your child gets braces later on.

If your little one vigorously sucks their thumb past the age of two, you should take steps to stop the habit. You might try distracting your child, offering a substitute behavior, and explaining to your child how harmful thumb sucking can be. If the habit persists, consult your family dentist in Richardson for more tips on how to put the nix on it.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

While thumb sucking can cause problems with the way teeth develop, baby bottles and pacifiers can lead to different issues that are no less serious. Some parents use a bottle to give their children sugary drinks, or they dip a pacifier in honey or another sweet substance to make it more appealing. Children love sweets, but constantly exposing their teeth to sugar in this manner can lead to cavities.

You might think this isn’t a big deal because infant teeth come out eventually anyway. However, it is a big deal. Cavities can cause your child pain and lead to infections. Furthermore, those little teeth are essential for your child to speak and eat properly. They also make way for permanent teeth; if primary teeth come out too soon your young one’s permanent pearly whites might grow in crooked.

To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, don’t give your child milk or other sweet things just before they go to sleep; you don’t want the sugar to rest on their teeth all night. Be sure to clean your child’s teeth and gums regularly, and schedule dental visits for them. Ideally, a child should have their first visit to your children’s dentist in Richardson around the time their first tooth comes in.

You want your child’s smile to be bright and healthy! Be aware of their sucking habits and do your best to keep their teeth and gums free of excessive sugar.

About Breckinridge Dental and Orthodontics

The team of dentists at Breckinridge Dental and Orthodontics provides a range of dental services to patients of all ages. If you’re concerned about your little one’s oral health, or if it’s time for baby’s first dental visit, please contact our office at 972-248-9119.

 

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