2 Consequences Of Poor Dental Habits In Young Children

Your child's dental habits can influence his or her oral health, even while the child is still a baby or toddler. As a result, your child's dentist will likely want to begin regular dental examinations and preventive services as soon as the little one's first teeth erupt from the gums. Here are a few consequences of poor dental habits in young children. 

Severe Tooth Decay

When a small child drinks sweet liquids regularly from a bottle, the youngster may develop a condition called baby bottle decay. Baby bottle decay can cause such severe tooth decay that many of the child's teeth may appear black or brown. Even liquids that may not be considered unhealthy or overly sweet, such as milk and natural fruit juices, still contain a large quantity of sugar. 

The liquid within a baby bottle is ingested more slowly than it would be from a cup or drinking glass. In fact, since many children suck on a bottle to soothe themselves to sleep, the liquid may even pool within the child's oral cavity, bathing the little one's teeth in sugar.

Oral bacteria consume the simple sugars in the liquids for food, and in return, release acids as byproducts of their digestion. This acid decays your child's teeth. To lessen your child's chance of developing baby bottle decay, your youngster's dentist may suggest weaning from the bottle as soon as possible. 

Misaligned Teeth

Many children suck their thumbs regularly. Although the habit seems innocent, it can impact the alignment of the teeth.

The thumb places pressure on the upper palate and the front teeth. This pressure can change the structure of the palate. In addition, it can force the teeth in the front of the mouth to become bucked. Also, the teeth of the upper and lower palates may not meet properly when the child closes his or her mouth.

Most dental misalignments that are caused by sucking the thumb can be corrected using braces or other orthodontic devices. However, if thumb sucking is stopped early enough, the dental misalignment can be avoided. Once the teeth present, they can be repositioned by the pressure from sucking a thumb. Additionally, since the baby teeth guide the positioning of the adult teeth, the results of the practice can have long-term implications.

Regular appointments with a dentist can help identify pediatric oral health issues early.  If your child does not visit a dentist at least once every six months, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist, like those at Plymouth Valley Dental Group, as soon as possible.