Harmful Oral Habits

"I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday"

What is considered a normal habit?

As early as 20 weeks in utero we are able to see a fetus on a sonogram thumb-sucking.  When we are first born, as babies we are all born with the need to suck.  This instinct is not only a necessity for survival but between feedings is considered to be a supplemental reward and gratification for the baby.  That need for tactile stimulation is also essential for the development of the Central Nervous System and considered a time of active exploration and discovery.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, both say pacifiers sucking throughout babies' first year is generally O.K.   Many parents opt to use a pacifier rather than promote thumb-sucking feeling it is easier to eventually take away the pacifier to break the habit than the habit of the thumb which is always present.  

Why and how are habits harmful?

Our tongue is really quite amazing.  It is designed to sit up high in our mouths gently suctioned to the roof of our mouth all day and every day unless we are eating or speaking.  This is called our tongues resting posture.  This resting posture affects the way our mouth develops and grows along with our airway.  Always remember the back of the tongue is the front of our airway.  If we are putting things in our mouths like fingers or pacifiers, anything not associated with nutrition, we are taking up the space that the tongue normally is resting in and pushing the tongue down and out of the way.  Depending on how long and much we do this can really change the way we develop in a negative way.  It will affect our jaw growth, teeth development, speech, and even the way we breathe and function.  As time goes on these habits and patterns get stronger and stronger which makes them harder and harder to break.  

How do we help stop harmful oral habits?

Habits come in all shapes and sizes.  Once we realize the importance of stopping them helping your child or even yourself achieve your goals doesn't have to be stressful.  At MyoAir we have trained therapists who specialize in the guidance of helping to eliminate all kinds of nonnutritive habits.  Our habit cessation program strategy works to identify the trigger, the reason physically or emotionally we are doing the habit, and break the pattern pathways through positive reinforcement.  The longer we go without the habit, the more the pattern's strength is reduced.  As parents, we always want the best for our children, and sometimes no matter what we try it just doesn't work.  Rather than getting frustrated which is felt by both the parents and child, we are here to help.

Possible Negative Consequence of Oral Habits:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Open Bite, upper and lower teeth can no longer touch
  • Speech Issues
  • Low resting tongue posture
  • Tongue thrusting and incorrect swallowing patterns
  • Vaulted narrow arches 
  • Mouthbreathing and Airway issues