The Truth About Thumb Sucking

As a natural reflex for children, thumb sucking is a common soothing technique, bringing safety and security to a child’s world. For tired parents, it may seem like a gift that helps their child fall asleep. Even so, can thumb sucking affect your child’s teeth? When should you intervene and try to help your child break the habit? Read on to learn the truth about thumb sucking.

Generally, if sucking habits continue beyond the age of 3, it’s possible that there will be problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of your child’s teeth. In addition, the shape of the roof of their mouth can be affected. To explain, the pressure of the thumb can inhibit the eruption of teeth and even jaw growth. The important factor here is the intensity of the sucking, which varies from child to child. While some may simply “rest” their thumb in their mouth, others aggressively suck their thumb. This can lead to an open space between the upper and lower teeth, better known as “open bite.”

If your child is a thumb sucker, it’s important to keep in mind that most children break the habit on their own, typically between ages 2 and 4. However, here are a few helpful suggestions for parents:

Praise and Reward: For some children, a little praise and reward is all it takes. Special activities or small gifts may provide enough motivation for them to stop sucking their thumb. In this case, the best advice for parents is to be patient. Gentle talks and reminders will work better than scolding your child when you catch him/her with their thumb in their mouth.

Creative Comforts: Remember–most children begin sucking their thumb out of a need for comfort and calm. Parents, you know your child best. Thus, if there is another comfort that can replace your child’s need for sucking their thumb, give it a try! For instance, a special pillow or blanket, stuffed animal, soft music, or even extra hugs may help.

Call Your Dentist: If your efforts to help your child stop sucking their thumb are seemingly in vain, you are not alone. Pediatric dentists are specially equipped to partner with you, helping your child kick the habit of thumb sucking successfully.

As a Top Dentist in Marietta, Dr. Leia Porcaro treats patients of all ages at Grateful Dental. When it comes to young patients, the team at Grateful Dental strives to create positive and rewarding experiences that will help children value dental care. If you’re concerned about your child’s sucking habits, give us a call today. We are happy to help!

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental

2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE, #1, Marietta, GA 30067

Phone: (678) 593-2979