Habits and malocclusion

Habits and oral dysfunctions – alongside early loss of deciduous teeth due to caries – are the most common causes of malocclusion and jaw discrepancies. Pacifier or thumb sucking especially deform the upper jaw and lead to an open bite, lateral crossbite and retrusion of the lower jaw.

Starting from the age of four, bad habits can be eliminated in the primary dentition by means of early prevention and interceptive treatment – e.g. with a prefabricated oral screen, thus avoiding the transfer of the aberrance to the mixed dentition.


Habitual influences

  • sucking (finger, thumb, pacifier, baby bottle, etc.)
  • interpositioning of the tongue between the front teeth
  • tongue thrusting, lip sucking
  • biting nails, chewing pens
  • incorrect swallowing, tongue malposition
  • anormal speech (e.g. lisp)
  • biting- and chewing problems
  • oral breathing

Relevance of weaning

The early giving up of habits – not later than at the age of two – will prevent a malposition of the teeth and jaws. An early end of the habit can contribute to the self-healing process of any deformation.

If sucking becomes a permanent habit, pacifiers, thumbs, fingers or baby bottles will hinder the normal development of the jaws.


The bulky body of the pacifier or baby bottle protrudes the upper front teeth and forces the tongue back into the throat.

Result: An open bite and retrusion of the lower jaw.

Sucking the thumb or pacifier has a protruding effect on the upper front teeth and inhibits development of the lower jaw.

Result: An open bite, often with asymmetrical retrusion of the lower jaw.


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