How Thumb Sucking Can Harm Your Teeth


Humans, chimpanzees, and other primates all engage in the habit of thumb-sucking regularly. Even while it frequently develops into a habit in young toddlers to comfort themselves, provide sleep aid, or amuse if they grow bored, thumb-sucking drastically declines after six months. When children are extremely young, thumb-sucking is not hazardous, but as they age, the more harm it can bring to their oral health.

How Does Sucking on Your Thumb Impact Oral Health?

At age 5 or 6, children start losing their teeth. Serious harm can result from a youngster sucking their thumb, which is still illegal. The overbite that results from thumb-sucking might cause teeth to move out of place. If a youngster quits sucking their thumb, this usually goes away, but if the habit is not stopped, the child may require orthodontic treatment. If the habit is bad enough, it can also alter a child’s jaw’s form and, if left untreated, may necessitate surgery. Children frequently pick up tongue-thrusting behavior after quitting thumb-sucking, which continues the jaw and teeth alignment issues. Typical dental issues thumb suckers encounter include:

  • Your child’s upper jaw protruding from their face more than it should
  • Overbites are the top front teeth that protrude upward and outward.
  • Lower front teeth that lean inward rather than being straight in your child’s jaw
  • A space where the upper and lower teeth should contact when chewing
  • An inability to bite together with the front teeth
  • The mouth’s roof is getting smaller and rising more quickly.
  • development of a lisp‌
  • The tongue in your child’s mouth is not correctly positioned

The development of the palate on the roof of the mouth can also be impacted by thumb sucking. Numerous more issues, such as structural abnormalities, trouble eating correctly, and tonsil collapse that causes snoring may result. Due to palate expansion and tooth misalignment, thumb sucking can impede speaking. To avoid tooth decay, taking care of infant teeth is wise. Encourage good dental hygiene when your child’s permanent teeth erupt. Your youngster may require pricey dental work to fix their damaged permanent teeth. Permanent teeth must be removed if the damage is too severe.‌ 

Rewarding the desired conduct more frequently than penalizing the undesirable behavior since positive reinforcement is always more effective than negative reinforcement. With your youngster, establish a system of rewards for stopping sucking their thumb. Alternative strategies include using bandages to cover the thumb, and some experts have recommended particular kinds of nail paint to prevent thumb sucking. Put socks on the hands before bed to prevent your youngster from sucking their thumb. To encourage your child to stop thumb-sucking, ensure they understand why it’s terrible. Getting an orthodontic “fence” could eventually be essential to prevent thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting.

Laser Dental Bakersfield Can Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb.

Make an appointment with Laser Dental Bakersfield if you’re worried about the consequences of thumbsucking on your child’s teeth. In many instances, having a conversation with mom or dad may not be as successful for kids as hearing the dentist explain why quitting thumbsucking is necessary. Call (661) 885-9054 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jeannie A. Molato.

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Dr. Jeannie Molato, DMD – Top Dentist in Bakersfield, CA

The art and science of dentistry has become my career’s passion. I can utilize my artistic passion and skill to give my patients smiles they have always dreamed of. I am also able to relieve my patients of their pain and discomfort, restore function to better their quality of life and educate the patients how to take care and maintain their oral health.