Oral habits include thumb or finger sucking, pacifier sucking, lip sucking and biting, nail-biting, teeth-grinding, and tongue thrust, just to name a few.
Finger or pacifier sucking are considered normal in infants and young children and usually are associated with their need to satisfy the urge for contact and security. Persistent finger or pacifier sucking habits may result in long-term problems; therefore, an evaluation by Dr. Luke or Dr. Marshall is recommended before age one so a plan can be put in place to alleviate these habits.
Teeth-grinding is a very common behavior in young children - especially while a child sleeps. While grinding in adults is usually a subconscious response to stress, your toddler may grind his/her teeth for one of two reasons: baby teeth are flatter than permanent teeth, so your child's bite may not line up properly; or your child is simply discovering his/her newly erupted teeth. There is not much you can do to stop grinding in young children and a night guard is normally not recommended until your child has developed his/her permanent teeth. But don't worry! A teeth-grinding habit in young children should not cause lasting dental damage and most children grow out of it with no associated issues.