Oral Habit as Assault to Aesthetic Dentofacial Appearance: Lessons for Stakeholders

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Osaronse. Anthony AGHIMIEN

Abstract

Objective: Habit is learned, reflexive, and repetitive behaviour displayed by an individual. When this learned pattern of behaviour involves the contraction of the musculature around the oral region is termed oral habit. Examples of oral habits are digit sucking, tongue thrusting, habitual mouth breathing and biting habits. Persistent oral habit can be detrimental to the normal developmental process of the dentofacial complex. The dentofacial complex contributes to the development the occlusion, acceptable aesthetic appearance and functionality of the stomathognathic system. The objective of this study was to review the impact of oral habit on the aesthetics of the dentofacial complex. Secondly, to emphasize the various roles of stakeholders in dealing with this habit.


 Results: The appearances of the macro-, mini- and micro-aesthetic complexes were shown to be affected by the continuous indulgence in oral habits. Children who indulge in habitual mouth breathing and tongue thrusting are prone to increased facial height while incompetent lip and increased overjet can be seen among those involved in mentalis lip habit. Constriction of the buccal transverse maxillary dimension, anterior open bite and proclined maxillary incisors are seen among those involved in digit habits. Stakeholders’ roles like improved awareness and early dental visits by parents/caregivers, professional inter-disciplinary collaborations and compliance to policies enacted by government agencies would go a long way in preventing the negative impact of oral habits.


Conclusion: It is evident that persistent oral habits have adverse effects on the aesthetic appearance of the dentofacial complex. A combined effort among stakeholders in the health sectors will be the best approach if oral habit is to be tackled effectively.

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