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Thumb Sucking
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects on which to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may induce sleep. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. How intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four. Peer pressure causes many school-aged children to stop. Pacifiers are no substitute for thumb sucking. They can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier, consult your pediatric dentist. A few suggestions to help your child get through thumb sucking:

Instead of scolding children for thumb sucking, praise them when they are not. Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure. Focus on correcting the cause of anxiety, instead of the thumb sucking. Children who are sucking for comfort will feel less of a need when their parents provide comfort. Reward children when they refrain from sucking during difficult periods, such as when being separated from their parents. Your pediatric dentist can encourage children to stop sucking and explain what could happen if they continue. If these approaches dont work, remind the children of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. Your pediatric dentist may recommend the use of a mouth appliance.

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Dental Emergencies
Toothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. If the pain still exists, contact your child's dentist. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately. Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to hospital emergency room. Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patients saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patients mouth. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth
Bruxism and Clenching Unfortunately, due to the difficulties of developing an adequate laboratory model that can easily replicate bruxism and clenching, a successful investigate of these common human oral habits is almost impossible. For the patient these habits can be responsible for dental pain as they relate to the head and neck and not to mention the potential for biting stress mobility on the periodontium. Part of the problem deals with the infinite possibilities of positions that the mandible has with respect to the maxilla as these positions are influenced by the dentition, the anatomy and the musculature. They just can not be duplicated in an experimental environment. And to confound the matter even more is trying to cope with the habitual nature of the human psyche. One strong consistent finding for these parafunctional habits is that most patients will strongly deny that they are doing it. Parafunctional habits such as clamping, clenching and grinding are very subconscious habits. Bruxism is the grinding or gnashing of the teeth and can be easily diagnosed clinically by observing the attrition or wearing away of the incisal edge or cusps of the teeth. Clenching and clamping is a noiseless occlusal habit that does not affect the tooth surface per se but can be most destructive to the supporting periodontium and can create biting stress mobility. It would be very difficulty to separate these parafunctional habits in individuals as all of them can and could be on going simultaneously. These are the most common oral habits and probably affect easily 90% of the human population at varying time periods of our lives.

Although the trauma due to occlusal forces have not been shown to directly cause bone loss, patients who are prone to periodontal disease certainly can be adversely affected by its presence. This can create various degrees of vertical bone loss and increase the potential for secondary as well as primary tooth mobility. Excessive parafunctional habits can increase the potential for muscle spasm and pain in the fibers of the temporomandibular muscles. This in turn induces more stress which causes more unconscious clenching and potential for headaches and more exacerbated pain with decrease mandibular movement affecting speaking and chewing.


quit biting your nails. Nail biting can be a habit which is difficult to get rid off especially since it seems to have no obvious harmful affects.

A study released by the Academy of General Dentistry tells us that habitual chomping of your nails can lead to fractured, cracked, chipped and worn front teeth. This occurs due to the excessive stress on your front teeth due to many and frequent episodes of unhindered indulgence in this habit(as the biters call it).

Nail biting

Other Dental concerns that the nail biters can be subjected to are damaged (Read:Sore,torn and painful) gum tissue which is mainly due to sharp edges of nails. The bacteria in the nails(Yes! they exist and lots of them too) can spread in the mouth and the bacteria in the mouth can spread to the nail bed and consequently the blood stream. People wearing an orthodontic brace are affected to a greater extent by nail biting. This is because of the pressure exerted by nail biting in addition to the already existing massive pressure by the orthodontic brace which the teeth are finding hard to cope with. Wearing a mouth guard is suggested as a deterrent to nail biting. In addition to this, professional dentists have been found to use therapy techniques like upward resting of tongue with teeth apart and lips shut to prevent further tooth damage.

Now, you can hold this study against any biter in your vicinity.

Nail-Biting Dangers


By Veronica Romualdez eHow Contributing Writer

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People bite their nails for many reasons, including anxiety, boredom, stress or compulsive behavior. Sometimes nail biting, also known as chronic onychophagia, needs to be treated by a doctor or a mental health provider, but often it's a habit that can be broken. Either way, it should be stopped because of the dangers it poses.

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1. According to the study "Operant Learning Principles Applied to Nail Biting" by Terry M. McClanahan, nail biting occurs in 28 to 33 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 10 years old, in 44 percent of adolescents, in 19 to 29 percent of young adults, and in 5 percent of older adults.

2. Nail biting can cause a skin infection around the fingernail known as paronychia. It occurs when the protective barrier between the nail and the nail fold breaks down because of moisture. Organisms are then able to enter the nail crevice, which results in a bacterial or fungal infection in the finger. Paronychia can be acute or chronic. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, inflammation and swelling of the finger.

Bacteria or Viruses
3. Constant nail biting can cause bacteria or viruses to spread from your nails and fingers to other fingers or to your lips and mouth. When the finger is constantly wet from saliva, it can result in a yeast infection in the nail and oral herpes. Bacteria and viruses can also cause the nail and the nail bed to weaken as they enter the small cracks that result from nail biting. Constant nail biting can also cause the fingers to become swollen and even bleed where bacteria make their way to the bloodstream.

Dental Problems
4. Oral problems caused by nail biting include gingivitis and damage to teeth. The front teeth are especially susceptible to being chipped, cracked or worn

down due to nail biting. The shortening of their roots, known as root resorption, can also develop and lead to the teeth falling out. Nail biting can also cut the gums, allowing bacteria to enter the wound.

5. Nail biting can cause nail warts, rough or horny growths under and around the fingernail. These warts are difficult to cure because of their location. Warts can distort the growth of the nail and spread to other parts of the body. Subungual warts are benign tumors. If left untreated, they grow and cause infections on other fingers. Periungual warts are elevated and irregular and cause peeling and roughening of the surface of the hand. These warts can damage the nail by lifting it from the skin or causing the nail to partially detach. Warts can be removed by over-the-counter or prescription medications, surgical procedures, or by freezing, burning or laser treatment.
Lip Biting
What Is It? Symptoms Diagnosis Expected Duration Prevention Treatment When To Call a Professional Prognosis

What Is It?
Lip biting is a common habit. Many people bite or lick their lips when they are nervous or concentrating on something. You may bite your lip by accident and then use your tongue and teeth to play with the sore spot.

In most cases, these actions are harmless. However, some people do them often enough to cause injury. Lip-biting syndrome is a chronic (long-term) habit that can lead to dry, peeling and sore lips. Some people may injure the lips in other ways, such as picking at them with fingernails. Many people with this problem can injure their lips without even realizing it for example, when they are stressed or worried.

Symptoms include sore, peeling, dry and inflamed lips. It's more common for people to lick and bite their lower lip. As a result, it's usually more damaged than the upper lip. The symptoms range from very mild to severe. People who injure their lips severely may have mental health problems.

To diagnose lip biting, your dentist will examine you and ask about your medical history and your habits. Sometimes medical problems can cause swelling, dryness and cracking of the lips. These problems can be confused with lip biting. They include:

Allergies to cosmetics, flavorings or food Crohn's disease Sarcoidosis Cheilitis granulomatosa

Excess sun exposure can cause irritation, peeling, flaking, ulcers and white areas on the lips. These sun-related problems can lead to lip cancer. However, there is no evidence that lip biting increases the risk of lip cancer. If your dentist or physician thinks that a disease is causing your symptoms, you will need a biopsy. A very small piece of tissue will be removed from your lip and examined under a microscope. This can show whether cancer or another medical problem is causing your symptoms.

Expected Duration
The injuries caused by lip biting will heal once you stop biting or licking your lips.

Stopping a biting or licking habit is the only way to prevent lip-biting syndrome.

Some people can stop the habits once they are made aware of them. That is all the treatment they need. Their lips will heal on their own. Other people cannot stop as easily. They may not be able to control their habit, or may be doing it in their sleep. For these people, dentists can provide soft splints to place on the teeth at night. The splints will help to prevent injury. Lip moisturizing creams also can help. In some cases, medicine is needed to address a mental health condition. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe a steroid cream to apply to the lips if they are inflamed.

When To Call a Professional

If you notice that lips are very dry, blistering or inflamed, see your dentist or physician.

If you can control lip biting, the outlook for complete healing is excellent. If not, the outlook is poorer. In severe cases, you may need to visit a psychiatrist and take medicine to help you stop the habit.