From a dental perspective, bad oral habits can be detrimental to your mouth, but they can affect your general health too.
Bad Oral habits can start from early childhood, most commonly around the time of teething, like thumb or dummy sucking. These issues can change the development of little mouths very quickly. The good news is if the habit is broken by around the age of 5 years old the chances these orthodontic changes will spontaneously resolve, is high.
Dummies and thumb sucking can change the shape of the jaws. The smile will become more ‘bugs bunny ‘ and the top front teeth sit over the bottom lip. Or kids might even suck their bottom lip behind their top teeth. In a nutshell, this means the lips are not kept together so, mouth breathing is favoured and will make matters worse by altering jaw development. Long term consequences are teeth and gum problems, allergies, poor sleeping habits, ADHD in school-aged children, anxiety disorders, depression. The good news of course is, if caught early, can be treated easily.
Adults can have bad habits too. Nowadays life is busy and we all lead stressful lives. We subconsciously (or sometimes consciously) develop these bad habits in reaction to our stressors. These may be noticeable, like nail-biting or pen chewing, cheek biting or you might not even realise you’re doing it, like teeth clenching or grinding. Of course the obvious can happen if you chew on pens/nails… teeth can break, chip and become sensitive, especially your front teeth. Teeth can also move and spaces can form, leading to unsightly gaps in the smile. Hmm, totally avoidable!
Habits can be broken, it just takes a little bit of effort, and sometimes a bit of help from us!
So if your child has a bad habit- action now to break it and let us check if there have been any changes to their mouths!
If you have a habit you want to stop, come in and see us! We have some good tips and advise to help you (and save your pens!) from day one.