8 Interesting Facts About Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is not an unusual habit for babies, toddlers, and young children, but parents and dentists often worry about the repercussions.

Here are 8 interesting facts about thumb sucking

  1. Thumb sucking is quite common and very normal. It’s a comfort mechanism that psychologists say mimics the feel-good effects of breastfeeding. Some babies even begin sucking their thumbs in utero.
  2. Children who suck their thumbs often do so when they’re feeling stressed, upset, hungry, or bored.
  3. Most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own between age 2 and age 4.
  4. Thumb sucking isn’t usually problematic if the child still has baby teeth. However, once the permanent teeth come in, it can lead to dental problems. The force of the thumb pushes the top teeth forward, which will require orthodontic treatment to correct.
  5. In addition to pushing the teeth out of place, constant thumb sucking can cause narrowing of the jaw and leave a space in the roof of the mouth. These changes can lead to uneven stress placed on the teeth when chewing.
  6. A few other problems with the habit: thumb sucking introduces bacteria into the mouth, the skin on the thumb can become sore and infected, and children who suck their thumbs may be taunted if the habit continues into the school years.
  7. One way to stop thumb sucking is to create a rewards system. As your child goes certain lengths of time without sucking his or her thumb, a small reward can help banish the habit.
  8. Another way to curb the habit is to have your child’s dentist place a fixed palatal crib in your child’s mouth. The appliance is attached to the roof of his or her mouth and the upper teeth and works by taking away the child’s ability to touch the roof of his or her mouth, thus taking the pleasure out of the habit.

Overall, thumb sucking isn’t something to be overly concerned about unless the habit continues after your child’s teeth have come in.

If that is the case, it’s best to see a dentist to determine whether damage is being done and, if so, to find ways to combat the problem.

The best thing you can do is to monitor your child’s oral health and take him or her to the dentist on a regular basis.

For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.

We Look Forward To Welcoming You And Your Child…

You will find our office to be a pleasant and caring environment. We know a positive experience can set the tone for your child’s future dental health. That is why our office has been designed to be “kid friendly”. Even more importantly, our pediatric dentists and professional staff have dedicated their careers to helping children. We establish trust with your child by creating a safe and happy place for them to be. The latest in dental technology is combined with genuine compassion and concern.

We are open Monday through Saturday and offer appointments as early as 7:30am

The first checkup is recommended at the first birthday. Our patients generally stay with us until they graduate high school. We are proud to say we are now seeing the children of former patients, as the practice was established in 1973 by Dr. Robert Harmon.

We have 24 hour coverage for our patient’s dental emergencies. There is a pediatric dentist on call at all times. Should you need after hours advice or emergency care, simply dial our telephone number and our message will direct you.

Are we accepting new patients? Yes, absolutely! We are happy to welcome new patients to our practice and we appreciate your referring your friends and family to us.

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