Good and bad health practices exist and children’s health is no exception to this. While practising good hygiene and intake of nutritionally adequate food is known to improve the health of children, many other habits can adversely affect children’s health.
No matter how much you take care of children’s health, these habits can be damaging to your children’s health. During their early years of development, children can develop these habits. Though many of these habits can disappear with age, others become part of their personality when the children grow up.
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Health harming habits in children
My cousin’s daughter had the bad habit of lip chewing to the extent that she often ended up with bleeding lips. She visited many child specialists of Rawalpindi and got her treated.
Some of these health-damaging habits are;
1- Thumb sucking
We normally see children sucking their thumb and the habits can be dangerous depending upon the habit intensity and age of the children. Thumb sucking can affect the development of teeth and jaws in children. Moreover, an aggressive thumb can even result in lisping and speech impairments along with permanently changing the shape of the thumb.
2- Nails biting
Nails biting is one of the common habits in children and is referred to as the nervous habit. While some children find it self-soothing and many others do it out of curiosity. No matter what’s the cause, nail-biting can do more damage to your child’s health than you can think. It can damage the oral health of your child by affecting their teeth and even jaws. Moreover, nail-biting can let them catch more infection and fall sick more often.
3- Hair twirling
Hair twirling is the coiling of hair strands around the finger and pulling coiled strands in a circle. Even though it might seem normal, this is a nervous habit and children can do it to soothe them or to relieve the anxiety. However, twirling hair is a bad habit and can be an indicator of an underlying psychological condition, said a renowned child specialist from Al Shifa clinic during a webinar on children’s health.
4- Holding breath
Breath-holding is a common habit in children and can involve multiple causes. Children hold their breath when they are frightened, scolded or frustrated. This emotional response normally lasts for a few seconds or hardly a minute. However, in case of prolonged breath-holding habit, it is recommended to address the issue as it might result in seizures or passing out of children.
5- Teeth grinding
Kids tend to grind and even clench their teeth and this is one of the bad habits that could affect the child’s health. Many children grind their teeth because they are stressed or they are trying to ease the pain. Sometimes earache or unaligned teeth can result in this habit. However, grinding of teeth can wear down the enamel and can result in teeth sensitivity in children.
6- Nose picking
Another bad health habit in children is nose-picking. When children are irritated because of a hardened object in their nasal cavity they tend to pick their nose. However, picking the nose can result in a bleeding nose as well as increasing the risk of nasal infection. Moreover, nose-picking introduces foreign objects in the nasal cavity that could be a leading cause of infections.
7- Object chewing
Kids tend to chew objects they come in contact with. This includes all kinds of objects including their toys, clothes, utensils or any other object in their vicinity. Even though children do this because they find it comforting, it can be very harmful in both the short and long run. Objects children put in their mouth can house thousands of disease-causing germs which can get along with the object leading to infections. Other than this, putting a sharp object can be dangerous as it can injure the mouth and other parts of the oral cavity resulting in irreversible damage.
Children’s health is quite concerning for the parents. While a strong immune system keeps the infections at bay and protects the children’s health and a nutritionally adequate diet nourishes them, many habits can harm their health in many ways. Ranging from lips chewing to teeth grinding, many of these habits can go with ageing.
However, many habits don’t go automatically and can be an indicator of an underlying physical or psychological problem. If your child persistently shows such behaviour, it is better to immediately contact a paediatrician and get the right treatment.