Effects of Thumb Sucking on Children’s Oral Health

Thumb sucking is a prevalent habit that a child develops during an early age. While some parents may worry about this habit in their child, most are unaware of the adverse effects of thumb-sucking on their child’s oral health. Because thumb sucking provides a sense of security for children, they may develop the habit of thumb sucking to feel calm or to fall asleep.

Thumb sucking is typically not a problem until a child’s permanent teeth begin to appear. However, Dental issues caused by thumb sucking are associated with how frequently, how long, and how intensively your child sucks on their thumb.

What Are The Effects of Thumb-sucking On Oral Health?

There are multiple adverse effects of thumb-sucking on oral health, some of which are:

  • Increases Risks of Infections

One of the significant problems associated with thumb-sucking is the spread of bacteria and infection into a child’s body, weakening the immune system to fight against the bacteria and germs affecting oral health. 

  • Misalignment of Jaw and Teeth

The most negative side-effect of thumb-sucking is to cause misalignment of a child’s teeth and even jaw. Once the jaw is deformed, there is permanent damage that has no cure, affecting the child’s oral health in the future. 

  • Sensitivity Issue In The Mouth 

Another risk associated with thumb-sucking is damaging the nerves of the gum and teeth, creating sensitivity around the mouth and teeth with a hot and cold temperature contact such as hot tea, cold drinks, soup, etc. All these extreme temperatures will cause pain around the gums and teeth of a child due to the vigorous thumb-sucking. 

  • Malocclusion and Teeth Bite Problems

Malocclusion and bite problems are also known as ‘bad bite’, which means the upper and lower teeth do not align together, which they should in a healthy normal bite. These problems are associated with thumb-sucking.

How to Overcome Your Child’s Thumb-sucking Habit? 

One of the easiest ways to overcome thumb-sucking is by encouraging your child not to suck their thumb. It will be challenging to do the task, but it will help your child’s jaw and teeth alignment not be affected in adulthood. 

Secondly, avoid giving a pacifier to your child so that they do not develop the habit of thumb-suck in the long run. Ensure your child is not sucking their thumb, and it will break their habit of thumb-sucking when they grow old. 

Final Thoughts

It’s easy for children to revert to their old habits, and breaking those habits takes time. Try not to enforce anything on them as the children who feel nagged may get agitated and continue this behavior. Keep on trying, gently yet persistently. Be patient since the first few days are often the most difficult.

Check with your child’s dentist if you’re worried about the effects of thumb sucking on their teeth. Some children respond better to a session with the dentist than with mom or dad at home.

Talk with your Stockton dentist, Dr. Sajjad Rizvi, at Happy Kids Dental today for more information.


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*Neither this nor any other content in this media is meant to prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. We highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition. 

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