What to watch out for kids under 5 years?

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Mothers know best, that’s a fact. This is why they don’t take no for an answer when they know their child is struggling. Here are some habits that children under the age of 5 may find challenging.

Thumb sucking

Thumb or digit sucking, is a self-soothing act babies tend to do; even when they’re in the mother’s womb. Up until the age of 2 this is a way to soothe themselves, put themselves to sleep, find comfort when they feel alone or even when they are hungry. However, if this habit continues beyond a certain age it has shown to become a difficult habit to break. Having said that, the habit of thumb sucking also arises when there are issues with the tongue in the mouth. The tongue plays an important role in feeding, breathing and jaw development. When the baby is having difficulty in feeding, 75% of the time the tongue is tied or tethered down in the mouth, not being able to function properly. This prevents the baby from being totally satisfied even after being fed. This in turn may lead the baby to suck on their thumb to satisfy their hunger. Once thumb-sucking is associated with comfort children can find it hard to break this habit. This habit then stands to become a normal phenomenon for the child and that carries forward into adulthood. This is damaging not only for their oral health, jaw development and teeth but also for their personality development. 

Mouth breathing

Another issue that is seen in children is the habit of mouth breathing. Breathing from the nose is the norm and many parents consider their kids to obviously breathe through their nose. However, frequent colds, enlarged adenoids, tonsilitis and / or other upper respiratory infections create inflammation which result in children becoming mouth breathers. This shift in the breathing pattern results in disturbed sleep as well.

Quality of sleep

Sleep is essential for every child. The stage of deep sleep is where all the growth, cognition development and healing occurs. A disturbed breathing pattern (mouth breathing) will cause a disruption in the sleep architecture. There is struggle to breathe which can lead to teeth grinding, bed wetting, noisy breathing or snoring. While the child may still get 8-10 hours of sleep, the quality of sleep will be poor which could result in reduced concentration at school.

Treating the root cause of a child’s habit can resolve it. Simple myofunctional exercises along with appliances allow healthy growth to continue. Visiting a paediatric dentist can help you get a holistic approach to your child’s oral health, habits and development.

By

Dr. Ipshita Suyash

BDS,MDS

Paediatric dentist, myofunctional & tongue tie expert Dr. Ipshita Suyash (MDS) is a Holistic paediatric and preventive dentist. She’s not the regular drill fill dentist; as she provides a holistic approach to child’s health. Her expertise in myofunctional therapy and tethered tissue release help kids eat, sleep and breathe better.

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