Lots of children suck their thumb for comfort, and it can quickly become a habit that is hard to break. However most children grow out of this habit by the age of four or so, and if this is the case it really shouldn’t cause too much of a problem to their dental health. It is a bit of a different story if the habit persists beyond this age, as it can lead to malocclusion which is where the teeth don’t meet together properly. This is something that may require orthodontic treatment in the future.
There are various solutions that parents can try to modify this behaviour, including positive reinforcement or praise for periods when they manage not to suck their thumb. Gently dissuading them from this habit whenever they put their thumb in their mouth may seem too much for them to take in, but it is important to be consistent. While this behaviour may end up in the teeth protruding, there are also other habits that can actually cause quite a lot of damage to children’s teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
This particular problem can cause significant dental decay, as many parents may be unaware of how harmful it is to put a child to bed with a bottle containing a sweet liquid. This includes fruit juice and formula. The reason it is so bad is that the child will go to sleep with teeth covered in sweet liquid, feeding the bacteria in the mouth which will produce acids as a by-product. These acids will attack the teeth, causing decay.
Having decayed teeth is no joke, as it can cause a lot of pain. These baby teeth may need filling or even extracting. Even though they are just baby teeth that will soon be replaced with permanent adult teeth, it is important to preserve them. They act as placeholders for the permanent teeth, ensuring they come through in the right position, and they also make it a lot easier for children to eat properly and to learn to speak clearly.
It is recommended that children visit the dentist in Kent as soon as they get that first tooth. This enables our dentists to check that everything is developing as it should and they can also give you lots of useful information on how to look after these baby teeth. Getting your child used to visiting Parrock Street from a very early age will help put them on the right path towards enjoying good dental health for a lifetime.
If your little one has just had their first tooth, or if they are coming up to their first birthday then why not book their first dental appointment? You can email us on email@example.com, or phone us on 01474 537191.