Child Care

3 Habits of Children that can Damage Their Teeth

Morinaga Platinum - 24 January 2019

As they get older, children must have certain habits, such as sucking their finger when going to bed or when they feel uncomfortable. Of course this should be watched carefully so it doesn’t disrupt the health of their teeth and mouth cavity. Here are 3 children’s habits that can trigger tooth decay as well as how to overcome them:

Drinking Milk from the Bottle

Cavity or caries that happens to the children can be caused by a lot of things, one of them is their habit to drink milk straight from the bottle. Why does drinking milk from the bottle can cause caries? Caries is triggered by drinking sweet liquid, like milk, with improper way of feeding, frequency, and intensity.

If children fall asleep with breast milk or sweet liquid in their mouth and haven’t completely swallowed it, they are at risk to get caries. If it is ignored, they will feel pain on the teeth and be difficult to eat and chew.


  • To make your children calm, avoid giving them beverage in a bottle, especially if it is a sweet drink. Simply give them a glass of water.
  • Clean the remaining milk on their mouth before bed.
  • Use wet gauze to wipe their teeth and gums after eating. This can help remove plaque and bacteria.
  • Consult a dentist about your children’s need of fluoride. Fluoride is very useful to strengthen the tooth enamel.

Sucking Finger

Basically, sucking finger is a normal thing done by the children. For them, the thumb or finger is an object that can give them comfort. However, if they keep doing this habit until they reach over 5 years old, it can cause some abnormal conditions on their mouth cavity, especially if the permanent teeth have grown.


There are three things that determine the severity of dental and oral problems caused by the habit of sucking finger, which are intensity, frequency and duration. The pressure and finger position when sucking can also be the factors. The risk that likely to happen is causing the palate to change shape and affecting the teeth position.


If your children are still sucking their finger when they are over 4 years old, then Moms and Dads are advised to do some approaches:

  • Find the cause. Pay attention to how they adapt to the surroundings as psychologist factor can be a factor that trigger them to suck their finger.
  • Avoid giving punishment as they will be more stubborn and refuse to stop this habit. Try explaining to them about why they should stop this habit.
  • Make a note when they are successfully not sucking their thumb.
  • Give rewards, can be a compliment and gift when they manage to get rid of this habit.

If it is still difficult for them to break this habit, Moms could do the following tricks:

  • Smear their finger with an unpleasant (bitter) but harmless substance, like a javanese ginger. Do this when they suck their finger.
  • Wrap their finger with a waterproof plaster.

If this habit stays until they are over 7 years old, you better consult your dentist on how to stop this habit. The dentist will make an orthodontic tool to prevent a contact between finger and the palate so that the pleasure of sucking the finger will be disrupted by this tool. This treatment is done only when the psychological approaches aren’t successful.

Tongue Thrusting

This is the habit of sticking the tongue forward and pressing the incisors when children are resting, talking or swallowing. Swallowing while sticking the tongue forward will make the incisors to get pushed forward – toward the lips – as well. They do this habit because of an enlargement of tonsils, breathing through the mouth, the upper arch of the teeth is getting narrow, or because of psychological aspects.


Immediately consult a doctor. Doctor will perform a series of therapies and treatments, starting from controlling the bad habit, orthondontics, to possible surgery if this habit is highly severe.

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