Hard Habits to Break: Five Habits to Break for the Sake of Your Kids
03/31/2017

The best pediatric dentistry expert, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, says that there are five habits that can be detrimental to a child’s overall health.

Online PR News – 31-March-2017 – New York, NY – “Thumb sucking, picky eating and nose picking are not only a nuisance, but they can have lasting negative effects on a child’s overall health,” says Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, DMD, FAAPD, a pediatric dentist with offices in New York City and world-renowned as a New York City pediatric dentist (www.949pediatricdentistry.com). “The following is a list of harmful childhood habits with some tips on how to deal with them.”

Habit 1: The child is unable to “let go” of the bottle.

“Moving away from the baby bottle is one of the biggest challenges for parent and child, but it is a must,” Dr. Jacobson explains. “Drinking too much milk can cause a child to skip meals and miss out on leafy green vegetables, yogurt and cheeses, leading to iron deficiencies. Also, allowing the child to fall asleep with a bottle will lead to cavities and baby bottle tooth decay.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that toddlers transition to a sippy cup by 15, but Dr. Jacobson recommends introducing the sippy cup at around six months.

Habit 2: The child sucks his or her thumb.

Dr. Jacobson says that it is common for babies and toddlers to suck their thumbs or their fingers to soothe themselves. However, he notes that extreme thumb sucking can affect the way a child’s jaws grow.

“Since sucking depresses the tongue away from the roof of the mouth and compresses it, the habit can affect the normal growth of the upper jaw, causing it to develop narrowly and leading to a cross bite or an overbite,” Dr. Jacobson says. “Such habits can also cause the upper teeth to be flared and the lower teeth to be pushed backwards.”

Parents can help a child to stop sucking fingers with a special nail polish that tastes bitter, a cotton glove, or a finger guard.

Habit 3: The child is a teeth grinder.

“Nearly twenty percent of children grind and clench their teeth, a disorder known as Bruxism,” explains Dr. Jacobson. “Children will usually grind their teeth at night, but it can also happen during the day, and it’s common when new teeth come in.”

Dr. Jacobson says that preschool-age children who grind their teeth are more likely to be withdrawn and have problems in school. Sometimes, he explains, kids with large tonsils and adenoids, or kids with obstructive sleep problems are more likely to have this habit.

“Some kids will grind by shifting their lower jaw forward to keep their airway open,” he said.
“The good news is that grinding will typically stop on its own. However, if you suspect that your child has obstructive sleep apnea, you should consult a pediatrician. If grinding is affecting your child’s permanent teeth, we might recommend a mouth guard.”

Habit 4: The child snacks all day.

According to Dr. Jacobson, allowing your child to eat every time he asks not only creates a power struggle, but it teaches your child that temporary hunger should be quelled fast. Grazing all day long on snacks will also result in the child being unable to eat its meals, he says.

“Those experiences push kids away from the healthy foods that we’re trying to get them to eat,” he says. “Instead of allowing your child to graze all day, decide on a meal and snack schedule. At snack time, it is important to only offer fruits and vegetables, and to avoid sugary snacks.”

Habit 5: The child suffers from prolonged pacifier use.

“The pacifier is soothing for a child and studies show it may reduce the risk of SIDS,” says Dr. Jacobson. “However, it can also be a breeding ground for germs, increase the child’s risk of ear infections, lead to dental problems, and affect language development.”

Dr. Jacobson says, like the bottle, it is sometimes difficult for the child to give up the pacifier. He says that when the child starts to walk, it’s a good idea to limit the pacifier to naps and bedtime.

“When you’re ready to put an end to it for good, you can ask your child to pack it up in a box and give it as a gift for another baby,” Dr. Jacobson says. “They feel like they’re doing something special and it makes it easier for them to let go.”

For 18 years, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson DMD, FAAPD, one of the best children's dentist. His practice, located at 949 Park Avenue, New York, NY, offers laser dentistry for children, cosmetic dentistry for children, preoperative dental care for children, soft tissue procedures, 3D CAD-CAM crown fabrication, porcelain fillings, and treatment of fearful children, with behavior management experts on hand. Call 212-997-6453 (212-99-SMILE) for more information or visit Dr. Jacobson’s website at www.949pediatricdentistry.com).

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