The Effects Of Thumb Sucking On Children’s Teeth

Learn about the effects of thumb sucking on children’s teeth.

Learn about the effects of thumb sucking on children’s teeth.

Thumb sucking is one of the most common habits for young children, as it calms them down and soothes them. However, regular thumb sucking and pacifier use can have a negative impact on their teeth as they age. Continue reading to learn about the long-term effects of thumb sucking and pacifier use on children’s teeth and their oral health, and a few tips on how to stop the habit.

Teeth Damage

While thumb sucking is a common habit, it’s important to keep an eye of it and end the practice before your child’s permanent teeth come in. If your child is sucking their thumb all the time, they may even experience problems before their permanent teeth erupt. One effect of thumb sucking is palatal narrowing, which happens when the roof of the mouth doesn’t grow completely because of the force of the thumb. Other issues include improper tooth alignment, bite issues, modified swallowing action of the tongue, and poor speech development.

Pacifier vs. Thumb Sucking

Many kids will stop thumb sucking on their own, but if they continue the habit as they get older, eliminating the habit is dependent on their decision to stop. However, pacifier use is typically easier to eliminate, as parents can always take it away when necessary. It’s still important to wean them off of the pacifier, as it can also cause speech and swallowing issues. Most dentist will recommend getting rid of a pacifier by 18 months of age.

Tips For Stopping Thumb Sucking

The effects of thumb sucking can have serious effects on your child’s long-term oral health, so it’s essential for all parents to know that the longer the habit continues, the more damage can be done. Be sure to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumb, and praise and reward them to help them stop. There may be a certain cause that triggers thumb sucking, such as anxiety or boredom, so work on eliminating the cause as best as you can. Thumb sucking can be difficult for kids to overcome, and if you face challenges, talk to their pediatric dentist for some advice.

Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity

Affinity Dental, located in Catonsville, MD, has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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