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Experts link sucking, teeth grinding to dental problems


EXPERTS have warned that natural reflex habits like sucking and grinding may affect the dental health of a child at later stages of development.

  While not ruling out the place of hereditary root causes, they said many dental flaws were on the account of unchecked childhood habits.

  Specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, Dr. Amy Traore-Shumbusho said no fewer than one out of every 10 dental problems among adults have their origin in negligence or accident during adulthood. 

  Traore-Shumbusho, who spoke at a session with beneficiaries of smile project initiative, said it therefore informs that some of the dental flaws are actually preventable, “if necessary care is taken from early stages of childhood.”

  Paediatric experts observed that the use of thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects on which to suck is common among infants and children. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. But thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. 

  Traore-Shumbusho, who is the principal specialist at Smile360 dental clinic in Lagos, said how intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs would determine whether or not dental problems may result. 

  “But10 per cent of dental problems are actually self inflicted; perhaps from accident or from negligence. But all the rest are just cases that just happen. If you have any form of habit, like sucking and grinding, that over time affect or cause the inhibition of the teeth, it will lead to some dental conditions on the long run,” she said.

  The expert advised that children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Those that already have defects can take advantage of innovations in dentistry to correct the problems early enough.

  Traore-Shumbusho said further that dental problems have always been among humans, though are now gaining attention because of oral hygiene awareness and corrective services for dental issues.

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