Lip Sucking in Children ~ Is It Harmful?

Many children invariably pick up bad habits such as thumb sucking or nail biting. You may notice your child constantly has chapped lips or a red, chapped ring around their mouth. Lip sucking in children is common and many parents do not even realize their child is doing it. While it is a difficult pattern to break, with patience and persistence, plus loving support you can free your child of the lip sucking habit.lip sucking in children can be harmful

What causes lip sucking?

Stress ~ Kids may suck their lower lip when in a new environment or unfamiliar situation, as a coping mechanism. It may develop as a habit and continue even when your child is relieved of the stress.

Dry Lips ~  When your child already had dry or chapped lips he may continuously and unconsciously lick or suck on them for moisture. However, the pattern can continue even after their lips become healthy.

Excessive Overbite ~  Lip sucking can occur if your child experiences malocclusion or a severe misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth or jaw. The top teeth protrude over the bottom lip, creating an ideal condition for lip sucking.

What are the dangers of lip sucking?

Excessive lip sucking over time will cause dry, cracked and chapped lips. There is definitely cause for concern, especially if there is a red ring area formed around the mouth. Damage in this area poses a risk of skin infection. Your child may be prone to develop cold sores or impetigo.

Sucking the lips also causes dental distortions such as occlusion or asymmetric jaw. The habit may cause a permanent error in the bite if left untreated.

How can I treat lip sucking?

Most of the time this is a temporary habit that will disappear on its own. But if it persists, with patience and persistence you can help your child break the habit.

  • Do not continually draw attention to or chastise the behavior. Instead offer lip balm or soothing cream for the child to apply. It serves to distract the child while also improving the health of the lips.
  • If your child expresses frustration or unhappiness about the habit, have faith and offer support. Offer a hug and word of encouragement.
  • Divert the child’s attention in stressful situations. Draw them to positive activities which may change the thinking in their mind.
  • Praise the child when you notice the child is not using lip sucking as a coping mechanism, or just unconsciously doing it.
  • Pay a visit to the dentist. If there is a problem with your child’s bite she may recommend a course of action.
  • Offer water to drink regularly. Stay away from sweet drinks which may trigger the child to lick the lips instinctively. However, if your child stays hydrated with water the lips may get healthier.
  • Offer sugar-free candies. The sucking of the candy may serve to replace the need for lip sucking. If they switch the habits, you can wean them from the candy.
  • Apply vitamin E or another lip moisturizer at night, every night. If the reason is dry lips, employ as many tools to combat it. Have the child carry around lip balm and use it throughout the day.
We Can Help!

If you have concerns about lip sucking in children contact Tooth Fairly Smile. Our kind and compassionate staff are here to help in any way that we can. Schedule an appointment today!