Bad Pediatric Oral Health Habits

A proper hygine routine and diet can make a difference when it comes to your child’s smile. However, there are also common bad oral habits that children can pick up when stressed, nervous, or bored. Awareness of these habits and how they can impact oral health can help you care for your child’s smile. As your local pediatric dentist in Mt. Airy, MD, we’re here to help your child avoid bad oral habits that affect the teeth and gums.

Bad Pediatric Oral Health Habits

Reviewing Bad Oral Health Habits: Pediatric Dentist in Mt. Airy, MD

Discourage your child from picking up these bad oral health habits:

Nail Biting

This common habit does more than damage to the nails. Nail biting introduces bacteria from under the nails and fingers to the mouth, which can contribute to bacterial infection. The pressure from nail biting also affects the teeth, creating wear and tear in the enamel. Find nail-biting triggers and help your child redirect their stress or anxiety. Use positive reinforcement when they don’t bite their nails to help them stop nail biting. Fidget toys can also help redirect stress.


When your child sucks their thumb, they apply pressure with their teeth, impacting how their teeth develop. As permanent teeth emerge, the pressure from thumb sucking affects the palate, resulting in possible tooth misalignment. Pressure on the palate, teeth, and jaw can lead to an overbite, open bite, or lisp. As with nail-biting, finding the cause of your child’s anxiety can help prevent continual thumb-sucking as your child grows older. 

High Sugar Diet

Children are often at a higher risk of developing cavities and tooth decay because of sugar consumption. Sugar is found in foods like candies and cookies and can also hide in juice and sports drinks. If you have a young child, make sure that you refrain from sending your child to bed with a bottle. Baby bottle tooth decay is a problem among children that occurs when the sugars in baby formula stay on the teeth, contributing to problems like cavities and tooth decay.

Poor Oral Health

Knowing how to care for your child’s smile is one of the most important things regarding oral health. When your child isn’t at the dentist, a good oral hygiene routine can mean the difference between a healthy smile and cavities. Before your child’s teeth emerge, wipe their gums with a wet cloth to remove food debris and bacteria. Once their teeth grow in, use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Floss and brush their teeth and gums twice a day.

Do you need more tips to care for your child’s smile? Call Mt. Airy Children’s Dental Associates today at (301) 781-5337. You may also request a dental appointment with Dr. David Hasson online.