Bad childhood habits that cause parafunctions

Any vicious habit that is developed in childhood and not corrected leads to parafunctions that will affect the harmonious development of the arches.

A gesture considered normal in childhood can cause serious imbalances if it continues beyond a certain age or if it is of unnatural intensity.

Children’s vicious habits can have negative consequences on their physical and mental development. Some of the most common vicious habits that can cause parafunctions are:

Finger sucking – this habit can lead to dental problems such as malposition of teeth or even tooth loss.

Nail biting – this habit can lead to skin problems such as infections or even damage the structure of the nails.

Cheek or lip biting – this habit can lead to skin problems such as irritation or even bleeding.

Rubbing the nose or ears – this habit can lead to ear or nose infections.

Chewing brushes or pencils – this habit can lead to dental problems and can be dangerous because of the possibility of swallowing fragments of objects.

Some vicious habits can also have negative effects on a child’s language development and communication, such as finger sucking or nail biting while talking.

It is important for parents and educators to consider these vicious habits and address them appropriately to prevent parafunctions from occurring. These can include methods such as rewards for desired behavior and correction of inappropriate behavior.

It is also important to work with a doctor or dentist to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent any health problems.he most important aspect to these habits is prevention.

It is the role of the dentist or prophylaxis nurse, the family and the kindergarten teachers to guide the child in maintaining good hygiene and eliminating bad habits.


It is considered normal up to the age of 3: it appears in early childhood and is not harmful in the first years of life. Most of the time, this habit disappears on its own.

If thumb-sucking persists until the age of 7 or even later, then the child has real anxiety problems and educational means such as dialogue, praise, rewards are needed to make him stop.

Some artifice such as a patch can also be used to remind the child that the finger should stay out of the mouth.

In complicated cases, when we are unable to establish any form of dialogue with the child, restrictive means such as gloves, elbow pads or orthodontic appliances with a vestibular shield that is embarrassing when the finger is put in the mouth should be used.

Regular check-ups with the dentist are recommended, and a comprehensive assessment of the arches should be carried out at around the age of 7 years so that treatment can be started before orthodontic therapy in the event of occlusal disharmonies.

Oral respiration

Normal breathing is nasal breathing

In some anatomical situations such as deviated septum, the child breathes through the mouth from the beginning, with the nasal air passage being obstructed.

In other situations, in the case of prolonged colds, when we have congestion and nasal mucosal load, the child will practise oral breathing, by mouth, due to the stuffy nose.

This habit maintained for a long time produces imbalances both in the overall arch and in the dental units.

Consequences of mouth breathing:

Increased caries risk: keeping the mouth ajar leads to dryness, especially of the upper front tooth group. Because of this, self-cleaning provided by saliva is not performed in optimal parameters, thus we have increased caries risk at this level.

Mucosal dryness: also due to the contact of the oral cavity with the outside, the air will dry the mucous membranes, which will be prone to lesions.

Atypical swallowing

Normally, when swallowing, the tongue is positioned on the inner oral surface of the upper incisors and the roof of the mouth. Atypically, the tongue will be interposed at the level of the arch, a habit retained since infancy.

Due to the immaturity of the swallowing process, disharmonies in the alignment of teeth and disorders of mastication and phonation occur.

Regular check-ups, especially during jaw development, can detect bad habits and their effects early, allowing immediate and effective intervention.

It starts with educating the child, trying to get them to give up the bad habits themselves through dialogue and rewards.

If the parafunctions are severe or communication with the child is ineffective, orthodontic appliance therapy is used.

In summary, children’s vicious habits can have negative consequences on their physical and mental development, including problems with teeth, skin, language and communication. It is important for parents and educators to be aware of these habits and to take the necessary steps to prevent the development of parafunctions.

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