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Thumb sucking can be an all too common habit for many children. It is also an instinctual, natural reflex for many children as a way to soothe themselves. However, over time thumb sucking can be detrimental to a child’s dental and physical development. While it is perfectly natural and healthy when a child is in its infant stages that same habit can become very problematic as they begin to develop teeth and socialize with others.

Is Thumb Sucking Normal?

Yes! It is quite normal. The thumb sucking can occur even in the womb. As infants, children learn about the world thru putting things in their mouths but eventually it becomes a soothing mechanism to make them feel secure and happy and even help them to fall asleep.

Dental Issues From Thumb Sucking

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics treatment for dental problems caused by thumb sucking is generally needed only in children who continue to suck their thumbs past their fifth birthday.

Thumb Sucking Habit marielaina Perrone DDSOnce the permanent teeth begin to erupt and develop in the mouth, the constant thumb sucking may cause dental issues. The common sign is the top teeth push out and upward, and bottom teeth to push inward. This tooth movement due to thumb sucking can cause the following issues:

-Development of a “buck tooth” appearance

-Inability to close the front teeth (open bite)

-Damage to the roof of the mouth

Speech issues

Pacifiers are known to cause similar issues as thumb sucking but the habit of using the pacifier is a far easier habit to break, it can be thrown out, whereas a finger can not. The determining factor if thumb sucking causes dental problems or not, includes the intensity and length of time of the thumb sucking. Checking a child’s thumb for damaged skin and calluses can help determine the severity of the thumb sucking habit. Many children simply rest their thumbs in their mouth and do not actively suck on them. These children are far less likely to develop any long term dental issues from this type of thumb sucking. Aggressive thumb sucking however will have a higher likelihood of developing issues with their primary and permanent teeth if the thumb sucking habit continues.

Speech problems caused by thumb sucking are related to the misaligned teeth, distorted palate, and tongue thrusting. The tongue does not have the ability to find the correct placement for proper enunciation, and the tongue muscle actually needs to be retrained for proper placement of sounds. Tongue thrusting is the pushing forward motion of the tongue when swallowing, causing a continued pressure on the teeth even when not thumb sucking. Speech problems can include not being able to properly say S’s, T’s and D’s, lisping, and tongue thrusting when talking.

Children who are thumb sucking may need treatment include:

-Those who have not stopped thumb sucking on their own by age 4-5.

Speech problems are becoming noticeable due to thumb sucking.

-Peer Pressure – If they are teased or feel embarrassed socially by their thumb sucking.

Tips For Breaking The Thumb Sucking Habit

Breaking a thumb sucking habit will not be easy. The longer your child does it the harder it is to break them of the thumb sucking habit. The following are some tips to help move the process along and break them of their thumb sucking habit.

Communication. Talk to your child about their thumb sucking habit. Explain how it can affect their teeth and kids might make fun of them. Ask how they feel and what you can do to help? Talk about alternative options when the thumb sucking urge comes on.

-Positive reinforcement. This works wonders with children especially of this age. Simple rewards like extra play time or a trip to the park can go a long way to helping break the thumb sucking habit.

Ignore The Issue. Some kids have a thumb sucking problem as an avenue for attention. I would not recommend this as a long term way of breaking thumb sucking habit but it is worth exploring.

-Offer Up An Alternative. Parents should give their child encouragement and offer to do a different activity when they feel the thumb sucking urge coming on. Could be something like squeezing a pillow or hugging their favorite toy.

Speak To Your Dentist. As an authority figure in your child;s life they may have more impact in this area. Your child may listen to them more intently. Your dentist will also offer dental treatment options. These can include:

-Behavioral Therapy.

-Special Nail Polish. This nail polish will be placed over thumb nail and have a foul taste for your child when they go into thumb sucking habit.

-Thumb sucking device that covers thumb. This will physically make it hard to get comfort when thumb sucking.

-Dental Habit Appliance. This is a custom made dental appliance that will make it impossible for your child to continue thumb sucking comfortably.

Thumb Sucking Conclusion

Breaking your child’s thumb sucking habit will take patience and persistence on both your parts. It is a very difficult habit to break especially the longer it is allowed to continue. If you need help call your dentist. Sometimes a group effort is what is needed. Also, be aware that putting too much pressure on yourself or your child can make matters worse. Best to take a calm, methodical approach.



Maintaining cleaner teeth at home can be a real challenge for many. A diligent dental hygiene program is necessary to maintain cleaner teeth at home between dental visits. So what steps are necessary to maintain cleaner teeth at home? Below you will find some helpful tips to maintain cleaner teeth at home and make each dental visit easier. Your dental visit will be quicker and less stressful knowing you are doing your best at home for cleaner teeth.

Top Tips For Cleaner Teeth At Home

Brush With Proper Technique. The brushing technique used is just as important as the frequency of brushing to maintain cleaner teeth at home. If you are doing a weak job with technique it is almost as bad as not brushing your teeth at all. An important step for cleaner teeth at home.

Cleaner Teeth At Home Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDSProper Tooth Brushing Technique For Cleaner Teeth At Home Should Include:

Toothbrush should be angled at a 45 degree angle to your teeth and gum tissues.

-Brushing should be done with a gentle circular motion encompassing each individual tooth.

-Do not forget to brush all surfaces of your teeth. This includes the inside (also called lingual side), the outside (also called the Buccal side) and the tops of teeth (also called occlusal side).

-Tilt tooth brush vertically to reach the inside of your front teeth. Many people neglect this area and it is just as important as the back teeth.

-To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Plaque that is not removed will harden over time, leading to calculus buildup and possible development of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Cleaner teeth at home should start with proper brushing.

Brush Your TongueThis is important for fresh breath as well. Plaque and bacteria can build up in the crevices of your tongue. The easy solution is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can use your tooth brush or buy a separate tongue cleaner at the drug store. Ask your dentist how cleaning your tongue can lead to cleaner teeth at home.

-Bedtime Brushing. In an ideal world, we would brush after every meal and then again before bedtime. But for many of us this is not possible. Brushing at bedtime can be very important because generally we have more time to devote to doing it properly vs maybe in the rush of our mornings. Bedtime brushing will help remove build up of food and plaque that occurs throughout our day. Bedtime brushing will lead to cleaner teeth at home because your dental hygiene will be maintained thru the night.

-Choose A Fluoride Toothpaste. Fluoride is a staple of good dental hygiene. It helps defend against tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer (enamel) of our teeth giving us a protective barrier against bacteria. There have been reports of fluoride being harmful to our overall health but rest assured it is safe and effective in toothpaste for brushing to keep cleaner teeth at home.

-Incorporate Flossing Into Dental Hygiene Regimen. Less than 30% of all people floss daily. That is a very low number for an extremely beneficial part of dental hygiene. It is recommended to floss after every meal or at least once per day to get flossing benefits. Flossing will help stimulate periodontal tissues, show a reduction in plaque, and lower inflammation of gum tissues.

Proper Flossing Technique

Use index fingers to guide dental floss between the contacts of your teeth. “Gently” guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zagging motion. Gently wrap the floss around the side of the tooth. Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line gently. Flossing too hard can cause trauma to tissues.

 -Use An Anti Bacterial MouthwashA good mouthwash like Listerine can help in many ways. They can act to reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth, act as an acid reducer, and destroy harmful bacteria growth in the mouth. It is important to ask your dentist for a recommendation as some are good for kids while others are good for sensitive teeth. A good mouth wash can lead to a cleaner mouth at home between dental visits.

-Stay Hydrated With Water. It is recommended to rinse your mouth with water after every meal. This will help remove food from the mouth but also lower the pH level in the mouth. Some foods can be very acidic. An acidic environment is ideal for development of tooth decay. Drinking water will lead to cleaner teeth at home by rinsing your mouth but also by limiting tooth decay development.

-No Tobacco Or SmokingTobacco and smoking has many negatives for our health but it also will cause staining of our teeth. Avoid smoking for cleaner teeth at home between dental visits.

-Limit Sugars. This is not only important for dental health but also for overall health. This has been proven time and again by scientific studies. Limiting sugars will also limit chance of tooth decay. The World Health Organization Guideline on intake of sugar for Adults and Children recommended to limit free sugars to no more than 5% energy intake to protect dental health over a lifetime. Cleaner teeth at home has a definite nutrition component.

Cleaner Teeth At Home Conclusion

Cleaner teeth at home is the foundation of a good dental hygiene program. This will also include regular dental visits for examinations and professional cleanings. Cleaner teeth at home will lead to a happier, healthier smile for a lifetime.




A custom mouthguard for sports is a necessity in this modern age of youth sports and concussions, most parents would not think of sending their child into a full contact sport without a helmet. A mouthguard for sports is just as important for overall safety and a child’s well being on the field. Safety is of utmost concern for most youth and adult sports organizations and this includes sports we may not perceive a need for extra equipment for protection. These sports can include volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, skateboarders and scooter riders. These sports are just as dangerous to our teeth and oral tissues as tackle football. The main reason you need a mouthguard for sports is not about the physical contact amount, but the fact that there is any contact at all, deliberate or not.

Custom Mouthguard For Sports

A custom mouthguard for sports is there to protect against injury to the teeth and jaw. Studies have shown that athletes have a 30-60% chance of receiving an injury to the face or mouth during his or her playing career. A broken or fractured tooth is not able to heal like a bone in the leg or arm. This will mean when an injury occurs it will include dental appointments and Marielaina Perrone DDS Custom Mouthguard For Sports Las Vegaspossible dental surgeries with a lifetime cost approaching $20,000. And that would be just for a single tooth based on studies. Over 5 million teeth are knocked out due to sports every single year.

What Does A Mouthguard For Sports Do For Your Athlete?

-A mouthguard for sports can help prevent cuts and bruising upon impact by an opponent or a ball.

-A mouthguard for sports can help prevent tooth fractures or dislocated teeth by cushioning the teeth against the blow.

-Protection between opposing teeth. A mouthguard for sports will separate your upper and lower teeth by a cushioned layer keeping them away from contact with each other.

-The lower jaw (mandible) is protected so impact does not fracture, damage the bone, or cause issues with Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ).

-A mouthguard for sports helps to reduce brain injury. Without a mouthguard for sports, the force that hits the mouth can cause the jaws to violently jar together which can result in a concussion. This point is still being extensively studied. But the belief early on is that mouthguards for sports can help limit concussion type events.

-Mouthguards for sports are used as preventation against neck injuries.

-A mouthguard will give an athlete extra confidence on the field to play his or her best.

Why The Need For A Custom Mouthguard For Sports?

We are all unique and dentistry is tailored for personalized treatment. Our teeth and mouth shape is different between all of us. A typical “boil and bite” sports mouthguard will not give the protection necessary. For many they are ill fitting and if they do not fit correctly you are leaving yourself and your loved ones at risk for significant injury. A well fitted mouthguard can reduce injuries to the teeth and jaws, possibly reduce risk of concussions by absorbing some the energy of the collision before it reaches the brain.

Sports injuries, like concussions, can leave damage that lasts a lifetime. Losing a tooth or teeth might be the least of our worries especially when it comes to possible concussion protection. I repeat again, no mouthguard will guard against all concussions but some studies have found a possible helper effect when an athlete is wearing a properly fitted mouthguard for sports. A properly fitted custom mouthguard for sports is going to decrease the risk for injury and also possibly the severity of injury. Another plus is that a custom mouthguard for sports are uniquely designed for maximum oxygen flow. The more oxygen an athlete is able to take in, the more enhanced their performance, endurance and communication can become.

Custom Mouthguard For Sports?

The American Dental Association (ADA) has made a recommended list of which sports should wear an athletic mouthguard. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) recommends a professionally fabricated, properly fitted custom athletic mouthguard for all contact sports. They are as follows:

-Basketball

-Boxing

-Field hockey

-Football

-Gymnastics

-Ice hockey (and roller hockey)

-Lacrosse

-Racquetball

-Rugby

-Skateboarding and Scooters

-Skiing

-Soccer

-Volleyball

-Wrestling

How Is A Custom Mouthguard For Sports Made?

A custom mouthguard for sports generally is made to cover the upper teeth and have sufficient thickness to absorb cushion the jaws. It should also have the ability to offer protection to the front teeth. A big priority is that it stays in place comfortably. No one wants to wear an uncomfortable athletic mouthguard. Proper oral and dental protection begins with a minimum of 4 mm of shock absorbing mouthguard material in the important impact zones. These areas include the front of the teeth and under the molars. Protection of the frontal impact zone is also necessary. It cannot be too bulky as that would interfere with speaking and proper breathing.

Your dentist will begin the process of a custom mouthguard for sports by taking a dental impression of your teeth. This is especially important for those who wear orthodontic braces. The mouthguard will be made to fit over those easily. Once the orthodontic braces are removed, a new athletic mouthguard will need to be fabricated by your dentist.  Athletic mouthguards for children will have to be replaced as they grow to ensure proper fit and protection. Even adults may need to change their mouthguards regularly so that they have continued maximum protection. The mouthguard material can lose its absorptive properties over a period of time and after constant use, so replacing the mouthguard only makes sense to ensure proper protection. A mouthguard for sports is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from a very early age.

How Long Should A Mouthguard For Sports Last?

A mouthguard for sports should be replaced following each season. This can be due to many factors…..growth of your athlete, material wearing down, or changes in fit over time.

Custom Mouthguard For Sports Conclusion

An oral or facial injury should not be left to chance. Every time you step on the field or the ice you are susceptible to injury. No matter what sport you choose to play, you are open to getting hit in the face accidentally or intentionally. Why not protect yourself as much as possible while still enjoying the sport and competition you love. Ask your dentist today how a custom mouthguard for sports can elevate your game and sport safety!




Dental Hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and routine visits to a dentist.

Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Eating sugar without proper dental tips for halloween leads to tooth decay.

But following dental tips for Halloween can remove the possibility of being scared of possible dental health issue developing following Halloween festivities. Dental tips for Halloween can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks while enjoying their Halloween treats to maintain good dental health throughout the entire year.

Dental Tips For Halloween

By following the dental tips for Halloween below, parents can help prevent tooth decay for their trick or treaters while teaching them good dental hygiene habits:

Dental Tips For Halloween Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDSSelective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. The purpose of dental tips for Halloween is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels and gummy bears) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good dental tip for Halloween might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.

Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.

-No Grazing. Dental tips for Halloween is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

Eat a Healthy First. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.

Dental Tips For Halloween Alternatives To Candy

Xylitol Gum (sugar free). This is a great dental tip for Halloween as it promotes dental health.  The chewing action of the gum actually promotes salivary flow which lessens the amount of time the sugars stay in the mouth thereby lowering the risk factors for tooth decay. This is also recommended as a tool after your kids indulge in candy to keep their mouths clean between brushing.

Halloween Stickers. Kids love stickers especially Halloween ones. The spookier and scarier the better and kids love them. You can even hand these out at the door to the neighborhood kids.

Vampire Teeth and Spider Rings. Go for the glow in the dark ones. Always a hit even with older kids.

Temporary Halloween Tattoos. If you go this route make sure you buy some that are for all ages and not just the cute bats and pumpkins. The older kids will want scary tattoos that look more mature.

Pretzels, potato chips & popcorn. There are many fun sized bags of these snacks available, a great choice and kids love them.

Pencils with Halloween erasers.

Silly String. Everyone loves silly string!

Bubbles.

Halloween glow necklaces and bracelets. Fun and great for safety as you walk through the neighborhood!

Halloween Balloons.

Dental Tips For Halloween Conclusion

So there you have it, a few easy dental tips for Halloween tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time safely and without worry. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not following these dental tips for Halloween. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.