Poor Oral Habits

  • Poor oral habits include a wide spectrum of habits including, thumb sucking, finger sucking, blanket sucking, tongue sucking, soother/pacifier use, lip sucking, lip licking, mouth breathing, and nail biting, among others.
  • These habits can alter the normal muscle balance in the face, resulting in an orofacial myofunctional disorder, which can have a negative impact on facial growth.
  • Thumb sucking is the most recognized oral habit that is widely understood to negatively affect the growth of the jaws and the teeth.
  • When the thumb is in the mouth it displaces the tongue so it is not resting fully in the palate.
  • The light forces of the lips and the cheeks pulling in, back and down on the upper jaw are no longer opposed by the light force of the tongue in the palate so the upper jaw does not grow as wide, forward or high as normal.
  • The long term position of the thumb in the mouth pushes the upper front teeth forward and the lower front teeth backward in the mouth.
  • A variety of negative affects on the growth of the jaw can occur with different poor oral habits.
  • Finger sucking, blanket sucking, soother use, mouth breathing and other poor oral habits can displace the tongue from its normal resting position in the palate with associated negative affects on facial growth.