While some people are born with uneven teeth, there are some bad childhood habits that can require braces to correct. Learning what those bad habits are will help your child avoid needing orthodontic adjustments. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of the most common bad habits that can cause dental issues and require braces to fix them. If you’re looking to improve your smile, call Dr. Mel Burchman to schedule an appointment today.

Chewing Ice

This is a habit that many children and adults have, with many of them not seeing the harm in it. Even if it is pretty tempting to chomp down on an ice cube after you finish a cold drink, it can cause serious damage in the form of cracks and chips. If this happens to a young child, it can result in issues with their adult teeth settling unevenly. That is because baby teeth act as a guide for adult teeth to follow as they grow in. Human teeth were not designed to break hard things apart. Instead, they are intended for chewing on pliable foods.

Biting Fingernails

Not only can chewing on your nails chip your teeth, it can also push them out of alignment. Beyond that, unless your hands are exceptionally clean, you are at a greater risk of getting sick from the germs and bacteria that call your fingers home. When you introduce that bacteria into your mouth, you’re also inviting gum diseases like gingivitis, so it’s best to kick this habit sooner rather than later.

Thumb Sucking

One of the most iconic actions of a child is also one of the most harmful when it comes to their teeth. When a young child sucks on their thumb, it will push their teeth out of alignment, as well as altering the structure of their jaw. This can result in malocclusion that requires braces or other dental appliances to fix. Additionally, the introduction of germs can breed gum disease and spur on tooth decay. Helping your child kick this habit will help them greatly in the long run.

Chewing on Pencils

A nervous habit of many people, chewing on a wooden pencil with a metal eraser can lead to cracked or chipped teeth and change their alignment, which will require extensive repair. It will also result in pieces of wood and paint being ingested, which can result in inflammation of the oral cavity tissues.

Grinding Teeth

Also known as the disorder bruxism, grinding teeth is most often done subconsciously as someone sleeps. This can cause chipped teeth, severe jaw pain, and intense headaches. If you suspect you might have bruxism, speak to your dentist about creating a mouth guard to prevent grinding your teeth while you sleep.

Holding Items in Your Teeth

While it may seem like a simple solution when your hands are full, your teeth are not a tool. Using your teeth to hold bobby pins while you’re putting up your hair or holding nails while you hang up a picture is not recommended. Even if you don’t think you’re biting down with much pressure, it can still cause teeth to crack or shift. Children are always putting objects in their mouth as they develop their senses, so it’s a good idea to ensure they avoid hard objects that can cause a lot of damage.

Your teeth are more sensitive than you might think, so helping your child avoid bad habits like these will help prevent the need for extensive dental work. Even adults can cause damage to their teeth if they don’t steer clear of these habits. If you’re looking to straighten out crooked teeth or fix an open bite, Dr. Burchman is here to help. No matter if you want to go with traditional braces or Invisalign™, we are the dental gurus of Langhorne and we’re here to help. We hope to hear from you soon!