Causes and Effect of Lip Sucking Habit in Children

lip sucking

Causes and Effect of Lip Sucking Habit in Children

Normal lip structure and function is important for speaking, eating and maintaining the balanced occlusion. The lip habit may involve either of the lips, higher chances towards the lower lip. It is a habit that involves manipulation of lips and perioral structures. Prolonged thumb sucking, lip licking, lip biting, cheek chewing, mouth breathing affect both the oral and perioral tissues. Lip sucking in childhood is not rare, but probably under diagnosed

Classification of Lip habit:-

  1. Lip licking/wetting of lips by the tongue
  2. Lip sucking habit-pulling the lips into the mouth between the teeth

What are the Causes of lip habit?

  • Malocclusion-some children have a problem with occlusion such as an overjet. Because of this overjet, placing the lower lip tissue in the space between the upper and lower jaws becomes much easier to accomplish
  • Emotional stress
  • Lip sucking occurs in children when mental attention and concentration are required in situations such as a new environment or a new task being learned that causes stress for the child

Clinical manifestations of lip habit:-

  • Proclination of upper front teeth
  • Retrusion of lower front teeth
  • Muscular imbalance
  • Lower incisor collapse with lingual crowding
  • Reddened ad chopped lip
  • Mento-labial sulcus becomes accentuated

lip suckingWhat is the treatment for lip sucking/licking?

Lip habit is not self- correcting and may become more deleterious with age because of the muscular force interacting child’s growth. Treatment of lip sucking habit should be directed initially towards the cause followed by appliance therapy like lip protector, oral screen and lip bumper. If the child is older, explain the esthetic importance to discontinue the habit. In some cases, psychological support may be needed depending upon the severity of the problem.

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