How Does Thumb Sucking Affect Your Child’s Teeth?

How Does Thumb Sucking Affect Your Child’s Teeth?

A natural reflex for children, thumb sucking and pacifier use are both extremely common in babies and toddlers. By sucking on their fingers, thumbs, pacifiers or other objects, they get the security and happiness they’re seeking. This practice also helps them explore and learn about their surroundings. And of course, they offer soothing capabilities that help them fall asleep.

However, thumb sucking can set a child up for oral health problems later on, specifically relating to the teeth and jaws. Once permanent teeth come in, sucking can interfere with correct mouth growth and teeth alignment. In addition, it can cause alterations to the mouth’s roof. Problems don’t just occur with the secondary teeth; sometimes they can even affect the primary teeth.

There are degrees of damage, of course. Children who passively rest their thumbs in their mouths won’t face as severe an issue as those who aggressively suck their thumbs.

At What Age Do Kids Stop Thumb Sucking?

This can happen by the age of two, three or four – usually in time for the permanent front teeth to erupt. Do you see changes in your child’s primary teeth? Do you have concerns about your child’s thumb sucking? Consult with a child dentist at Redwood Dental right away.

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help them curb this behavior:

  • Remember that children often suck thumbs and pacifiers when they feel insecure or require comfort. Shift your focus to correcting the root cause of your child’s anxiety. Give plenty of comfort during those moments.
  • If you have older children who thumb suck, ask them to choose how they want to stop the habit.  
  • Ask your dentist to offer extra encouragement when your child is at the office for a cleaning. The dentist can gently tell them what may occur to their teeth if they don’t stop.  
  • If none of the above tips works, remind your child of their thumb sucking habit by placing a bandage on their thumb or taping a sock over the hand at bed time. Ask your dentist for another suggestion, which could include a polish for the thumb that has a bitter taste to it, a thumb guard or a mouth appliance.

Contact Redwood Dental

Schedule an appointment for your child at 800-462-2222. Redwood Dental has many locations for you to choose from and would be happy to accommodate your child for checkups, cleanings and evaluations.