Tongue thrusting is a oral habit that can cause various dental problems, including a bad bite. If your child is thrusting his or her tongue, you need to take action before the permanent teeth are damaged. Here is what you need to know about tongue thrusting.
What Is Tongue Thrusting?
When your child constantly pushes his or her tongue against the teeth, this is known as tongue thrusting. The habit might seem harmless, but it can lead to the teeth being pushed out of alignment. Even if your child's teeth are treated, it is possible that he or she could push the teeth out of position again by thrusting the tongue along the teeth.
How Is It Treated?
The treatment recommended by your dentist depends on the severity of the condition. Your child could be equipped with a custom night guard. Your child would wear it while sleeping to help put his or her teeth back into the correct positions. In some instances, the dentist might recommend a more permanent device. If your child is equipped with this type, it can only be removed by the dentist.
Another option for treating your child's teeth is to use oral habit training. Your child would learn to recognize the situations that causes him or her to thrust the tongue. Once that is identified, your child would be more conscious of when he or she is doing it and can make a concerted effort to stop thrusting the tongue.
What Can You Do at Home?
If your child has been diagnosed with tongue thrusting, it is important that you take action at home to stop the progression of the condition. One method is to stop your child's bad dental habits. For instance, if your child sucks his or her thumb, take steps to prevent it. Encourage your child to do other activities when he or she feels like sucking on the thumb.
If your child uses a pacifier, it might be time to get rid of it. Even though the pacifier can help to calm your child, it can also lead to the development of tongue thrusting.
Even though it might seem harmless when your child repeatedly thrusts his or her tongue against the teeth, it can actually turn into a lifetime of dental problems. Follow your dentist's recommendation for treatment and prevention of future alignment problems and their teeth should be in good shape.