how to raise a happy healthy eater
WHAT ARE ORAL HABITS
We’ve likely all engaged in oral habits at some point or another. There are some oral habits that are considered developmentally appropriate as long as they resolve before our mouth and jaw finish developing. Oral habits are repetitive, automatic actions or patterns of behavior surrounding the oral structure. These may include thumb sucking or lip biting. Oral habits often develop as soothing mechanisms during infancy and childhood, however prolonged use of oral habits can significantly alter how the teeth, mouth, face, and airway develop and lead to oral dysfunction, tongue thrusting, poor sleep, and more.
COMMON ORAL HABITS & POSSIBLE IMPACTS
Biting Nails - Regularly biting your nails is not only unsanitary, but it can cause:
Lip sucking, cheek biting, and lip biting
Chewing on Straws
Thumb sucking - Although thumb sucking during infancy helps the infant become ready for feeding and can help soothe them, prolonged thumb sucking can cause:
ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS THAT CAN ARISE
Aside from the significant impacts to the teeth, mouth, and face listed above, failure to address these can create additional problems.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
We will help you or your child eliminate poor oral habits. The ideal time to start Orofacial Myofunctional Treatment is 7-8 years of age, but adults and children as young as 4 can benefit from support in oral motor development and elimination of poor oral habits. We don’t stop there though! It’s important to treat all resulting factors and therefore treatment targets may also include establishing correct resting tongue posture, establishing nasal breathing, learning to chew and swallow correctly without tongue thrusting, and correcting speech sound errors.
Christine Miroddi Yoder is a parent and feeding expert. She is the author of the book Mealtime Mindset and the Podcast How to Un Picky Your Picky Eater and owner of the feeding clinic Foodology Feeding Therapy.