Every day, parents visit our office and ask the same question, “How can I protect my child’s teeth?” With years of experience in the field of orthodontics, we know that certain bad habits can ruin a child’s teeth.

Below is a brief list of bad habits that can lead to damaged teeth, tooth decay, or misaligned teeth.

Bad Habit 1: Teeth Grinding

Anxiety-induced teeth grinding can easily change the position of your primary and secondary teeth. Some children grind subconsciously during the day to cope with stress while others develop nighttime bruxism that can also cause dental misalignments. It is possible for an orthodontist to make a special plastic guard to better protect teeth from grinding, however, the best thing to do is find natural ways to alleviate your child’s anxiety.

Bad Habit 2: Thumb-sucking

Sucking your thumb or other fingers will apply pressure to teeth that are located toward the front of your mouth, causing wide spaces or crooked teeth. It is also bad for a child to continue using a pacifier after his or her baby teeth have poked through.

Looking to discourage your child’s thumb sucking? Consider applying an all-natural, yet foul-tasting mixture to your little one’s thumb or pacifier.

Bad Habit 3: Sleeping On Your Stomach

There is a scientific study that suggests that sleeping on your stomach can alter facial growth and dental alignment. Children with poorly formed palates or jaws must wear dental appliances in addition to braces, but parents can discourage stomach sleeping by making sure their child has a comfortable bed with a supportive mattress and pillow.