Breaking Bad Childhood Habits with Interceptive Orthodontics
November 30, 2016
Like a shared love of Frozen and recess, most children have the same oral habits in common. Thumbsucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting are three. Unfortunately, these seemingly harmless habits also have a significant effect on the alignment of a child’s teeth. Thumbsucking, for example, affects the development of the roof of the mouth and can cause the upper front teeth to protrude, in addition to other side effects. If you have tried everything to break your child’s little habit but haven’t had success, interceptive orthodontics from Southlake dentist Dr. Thomas can help.
Breaking Bad Habits the Old Fashioned Way
Your little one may develop any number of “bad” oral habits throughout childhood. Some of the most common include thumb or finger sucking, pacifier use, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue against the teeth when swallowing). While they may not seem like that big of a deal at first, each habit affects the development of her mouth. You may try breaking these bad habits at home first.
Common ways to stop thumbsucking include applying a bad-tasting (but safe) solution to the thumbnail, or making your child wear a glove during sleep. These tactics work for some children, but most find ways around them and continue sucking comfortably.
Many children suck their thumbs when they are feeling anxious or afraid. Talk to your child about her feelings and try to help her understand that there is nothing to fear when you leave for work, for example. Giving her a teddy bear to squeeze when you depart may help take some of the focus away from the thumb.
Tongue thrusting requires retraining the way your child swallows — a mental task that is often very difficult for young children. Mouth breathing can be solved by treating stuffy sinuses.
But if you’ve tried everything and still haven’t had success, appliance therapy comes to the rescue.
Appliances that Break Bad Habits
Whatever habit your little one has picked up, Dr. Thomas can retrain her mouth out of the habit with the help of one of our special appliances.
If your child pushes her tongue out to pronounce words beginning with “s” and then says them with a lisp, she’s a tongue thruster. The condition often occurs in children under the age of seven who are thumsuckers, whose teeth do not close together completely, or whose incisors are not fully erupted. Dr. Thomas can fit your child with a metal tongue thrusting device that prevents the tongue from pressing up against the front teeth.
Mouth breathing may not seem like too big of a problem, but it actually robs your child of oxygen and affects her sleep, too. But there is help with a mouth breathing appliance. Dr. Thomas can fit your little one with the device that widens the upper palate to open up the blocked sinuses and nasal passage.
Dr. Thomas may recommend interceptive orthodontics along with appliance therapy to limit or even prevent the need for future orthodontic work.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Can’t break your little one’s persistent oral habit? Let us help. Dr. Thomas will examine your child’s mouth and thoroughly discuss with you which interceptive orthodontic treatments are necessary. We invite you to schedule an appointment for orthodontics in Southlake today.
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