3 Childhood Habits That Could Harm Your Smile


Poor Oral Habits Could Misalign Your Bite


Crooked or overlapping teeth as well as misaligned bites can develop for many reasons, including factors beyond a patient’s control like genetics. However, poor oral habits, especially at a young age, can also cause teeth and jawbones to shift out of place.


These malocclusions can detract from the appearance of a patient’s smile, but they can also create oral health problems without intervention from an orthodontist. You can lower the risk of these orthodontic concerns arising by avoiding certain behaviors. Dr. Kirat Sodhi, an orthodontist practicing in Irving, TX, lists three oral habits in childhood that could negatively affect the alignment of your smile.

Thumb Sucking


Some habits can be harmless in themselves, but the continued and repeated behavior can cause lasting effects to the shape of the mouth. Thumb sucking is one of these habits that can alter a young individual’s teeth into their adulthood.


The thumb’s prolonged presence in a child’s mouth can lead to the formation of an open bite, a type of malocclusion in which the top and bottom teeth do not connect when biting down. The sucking motion of this behavior can also pull at the top arch of teeth and lead to an over bite. This orthodontic issue occurs when the top row of teeth protrudes over the bottom one. Both of these problems can be amended with orthodontic treatment though they can be prevented by ceasing this oral habit early in life.


Nail Biting


As with thumb sucking, nail biting is an oral habit that can negatively impact an individual’s bite and dental structure, especially at a young age. Biting a hard item like fingernails can cause teeth to shift out of place and become crooked.


Other biting habits, including chewing on the lip, can push the teeth forward and encourage an over bite too. Braces and other orthodontic appliances can help straighten teeth and align a bite if a malocclusion has developed.


Improper Oral Hygiene


We practice oral hygiene to remove plaque, tartar, and other residues from our teeth which could threaten the health of our smiles if they remain on the surface of our teeth. A good oral hygiene routine includes flossing each day, brushing teeth twice a day, and visiting a dentist for cleanings every six months.


However, if this regimen is not adhered to, and plaque stays on your teeth, it can eat away at your dental structure and your gums, leading to teeth falling out or shifting out of place. Sticking to a healthy oral hygiene routine can keep your teeth straight so that you can preserve the appearance and health of your smile.