Harmful Effects of Thumb Sucking on Teeth

Is thumb sucking harmful? Is there such a thing as thumb sucking teeth? We’re here to help you understand thumb sucking, when it can be a problem, and the best ways to support your child.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s thumb sucking often contact the dentist with questions. Most thumb sucking kids do it because it’s comfortable. While thumb sucking is a typical activity for kids, doing it regularly can be detrimental to their teeth and general oral health.

Your child may just need to be encouraged to stop sucking their fingers or thumbs to break the habit during the day. If parents wait until their child develops the habit and the child stops later in life, an orthodontist may be needed to prevent difficulties.

Thumb sucking can have a variety of negative effects on the mouth, teeth, and gums. This is due to the constant pressure on the roof of the mouth, jawbone, and teeth by sucking and using the thumb. It can cause any of the following:

Overbite, where the top teeth stick out from the rest of the mouth and jaw

When the mouth is closed, the upper and lower teeth should touch. A malocclusion, however, can cause the lower teeth to tilt inward or outward.

Alter the contour of the jaw, which can affect the symmetry and sensitivity of the upper jaw and cause speech problems.

Thumb sucking causes the palate to retract, which occurs when the palate is not fully developed.

Improper tooth alignment, abnormal tongue swallowing behavior, and breathing changes

finger or thumb calluses

However, if thumb sucking is stopped while the permanent teeth are erupting, most of these problems will go away or never show up. Children who are hard and persistent thumb sucking may be more susceptible to negative effects.

How can I encourage my child to stop thumb sucking?

Reinforcing positive behaviors rather than punishing negative ones may be a healthier and more effective way to control your child’s behavior. Part of the explanation for this may be that stress and guilt may cause thumb sucking to become more common and reduce the appeal of punishment.

Like any other unpleasant habit, thumb sucking can become a habit without your child even realizing they’re doing it. Stop them with a warning to get their attention before going into the exercise.

Here are some things you can do to stop your child from sucking their thumb:

Change their stress-relieving behaviors to more constructive ones, such as hugging a beloved toy, stuffed animal, or blanket.

Make a graph with stickers to track their behavior and reward them when they receive a certain number of stickers.

Avoid putting your child in a stressful situation by not shaming, blaming, or punishing your child for thumb sucking.

Use prizes and praise to encourage positive behaviors, such as not thumb-sucking.

You can stop this tendency by wrapping a bandage around their thumb or covering their hands with a blanket at night.

If your child is old enough, tell them about the impact of thumb sucking on oral health.

Make sure to reduce or control your child’s discomfort and tension.

Consult your dentist

Still, if you’re having trouble making health adjustments yourself, it’s best to seek advice from your dental professional. To stop thumb sucking, they may recommend bitters, thumb protectors, or (in rare cases) dental appliances. When trying to help them, it’s critical to learn more about what can improve your child’s behavior and what can harm their behavior.


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