Thumb sucking, baby bottles and pacifiers can all damage your baby's teeth, resulting in misalignment, decay and tooth loss. However, your baby will use most, if not all, of these items. And, for a period of time, you will be hard-pressed to deny them what they want, nor would you want to. Fortunately, these items can all be used without detriment to your child's teeth as long as they are limited to the early years. If your child continues to suck their thumb or use a bottle incorrectly, however, bad things can happen. Following are some problems that can develop if you're not careful.
Most children stop sucking their thumb on their own between the ages two and four, well before their permanent teeth come in. If your child continues to suck their thumb or if they are a particularly rigorous sucker, they may cause damage to their teeth. Thumb-sucking can cause misalignment of the teeth, speech problems and lisping. One of the most common misalignment problems is called malocclusion, which is a condition in which the teeth are thrust outward.
If your child is under the age of four and still sucks their thumb, you don't have anything to worry about. If your child is older and still sucking their thumb, you may want to see a dentist.
Drinking sugary substances, such as juice and milk, through a bottle may eventually lead to tooth decay, especially if your child is put to sleep with their bottle. Tooth decay from a baby bottle, often called baby bottletooth, can also occur if your child continues to use a bottle when they are developmentally able to use a spill-proof cup. Not only can drinking sugary substances damage baby teeth, it can also cause problems for permanent teeth if the baby teeth are heavily decayed or missing. Never fill your baby's bottle with anything but water or milk. Once your baby is off of milk, start weening them off the bottle.
The risks associated with a pacifier are nearly identical to that of thumb sucking. A pacifier may have a distinct advantage over thumb-sucking, though, because you can take the pacifier away from your child at a certain age. You cannot remove their thumb, which makes thumb sucking a harder habit to break.
Your child may develop dental issues from thumb sucking, pacifier use and drinking from a bottle if you're not careful. If you have any fears about how your baby's habits are affecting their teeth, be sure to discuss them with your dentist or pediatrician. Visit a site like http://www.joerosenbergddspa.net for more information.