Dental Tips Blog


Is Thumb-Sucking Really That Bad?

Thumb-sucking is the way little ones naturally try to calm themselves. The habit helps them cope with an anxious situation, fall asleep faster, and occupy themselves when bored.

Did you know though, that this cute hallmark sign of babyhood could cause a lot of damage to your child’s smile?

A Normal Habit

From the moment babies discover fingers, they begin putting them in their mouth! This tendency often stops on its own around age 2-2 ½. Sometimes thumb-sucking past the age of 3 is normal. But what if it continues?

The Effects on the Smile

A combined pressure of the finger and suction will eventually affect the shape of developing bone and the position of emerging teeth. Not only could this habit create buck teeth, but it could also increase spacing between them.

The resulting problems down the road include:

  • Child is too embarrassed to smile
  • Difficulty biting into foods like pizza or sandwiches
  • Speech problems

Even after thumb sucking consciously stops, a child may pick up the habit of thrusting their tongue into the gapped space. This still puts pressure on the front teeth. You could liken this to performing their own orthodontic treatment!

Don’t Ignore Thumb-Sucking!

Letting a thumb-sucking habit continue increases the chances that your child will need braces and possibly surgery to correct the shape of the mouth.

It’s much better to avoid these problems in the first place! Talk with your dentist for help. You’ll get age-appropriate recommendations for breaking the habit in addition to suggestions for correcting any damage done. A dental professional will also help you figure out what could be triggering the habit. Call your dental office today to schedule a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 336-8478

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