How Bad is Thumb Sucking for my Child’s Teeth?

Is Thumb Sucking Bad For My Child’s Teeth?

Thumb sucking character Linus from the “Peanuts” comic strip lives in most children. Pediatricians say thumb-sucking is a very natural thing for little ones to do — it starts off as a cute self soothing tactic, and then it becomes a habitual thing later on. When the little ones don’t have a nipple or binky to suck on, they turn to their little thumb which is there all the time, and they grow not needing anything else because it’s the most reliable source of security and comfort for them.

It’s really quite sweet to see a young child sucking their thumb, especially when they’re getting ready to sleep. However, this habit, as cute as it is, can have negative effects on your child and the growth pattern of their teeth.

Is thumb-sucking bad for my child’s teeth?

Yes.

According to family dentists, when children get their permanent teeth, the frequent sucking may affect the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. It’s very common among thumb suckers to develop an overbite (which will have to be corrected with braces). It’s important to mention as well that thumb-sucking can alter the structure of the roof of the mouth which can cause speech issues or harm the growth patterns of adult teeth as they prepare to take over. We always recommend a orthodontic consultation for little ones who are habitual thumb suckers just to be sure the roof of the mouth is not changing shape.

Therefore, getting the little ones to kick the habit should be done early to prevent issues with their permanent front teeth. Dentists advise parents to have their little ones stop between the ages two and four years old — just before they start getting their permanent front teeth.

What should I do to get my child to stop sucking his thumb?

Getting the little one to stop sucking his thumb is not going to be easy since the activity is a source of comfort and security for him, but you should try the following tips because they just may work.

  • Explain to your child that he/she growing up and thumb-sucking is one of those things that growing children have to stop doing, much like potty training. You don’t expect him/her to quit right away, but you’ll be very happy to see him do his best to stop.
  • Praise and reward him if you see him not sucking his thumb in a situation wherein they normally would.
  • Provide your child other sources of security and comfort. Be ready to give more hugs or present your child a fluffy “huggy bear” he can stroke and embrace when he’s feeling insecure instead.
  • Have the dentist explain the negative effects of thumb-sucking to your child.
  • Last, avoid wives tales. We don’t recommend the old tabasco on the thumb trick or any of the other potentially harmful tricks you can find across the internet.

Getting your child to stop thumb-sucking may be a bittersweet moment for you because it’s one clear sign that you really no longer have a “baby,” but it’s the smart thing to do if you want him to grow up with a naturally nice smile.Regardless of thumb sucking habits, you child may in fact need braces due to genetics which is not something you will be able to control. So, hang in there, have patience and consult your local Pediatric Dentist if you have concerns about your child’s teeth.

Unlti we meet again, Surfs up Dudes!

The Surfside Kids Dental Staff

 

 

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