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Hoes does thumb sucking affect my child’s teeth?
27 Nov. 2019

Hoes does thumb sucking affect my child’s teeth?

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for a child that can often be seen in the womb during development. It involves placing the thumb into the mouth and rhythmically sucking contact for a long duration. This habit may make babies feel happy and secure or may help them fall asleep. According to ADA (American Dental Association), the best time to discourage thumb sucking is before the permanent teeth start to appear in order to prevent problems with teeth alignment and development of the mouth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth and can affect the facial form.

Until 3 years old, this finger habit is considered normal, it will cease without any effort. If it persists,parents should be helped to find ways to stop it.

For children who experience difficulty in stopping their thumb sucking, some products that can be placed on the thumb in order to discourage the habit ca be used. Just placing a bandage on the thumb or a sock on the hand it is enough. Do not criticize your children. Criticism may create more anxiety. If thumb sucking continues after the age of 4 or 5, this habit will begin changes to the mouth and teeth.

Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment and create an overbite. The child can also have problems with the pronunciation of words. Moreover, the upper and lower jaws can become misaligned and the roof of the mouth might become malformed.

How to stop thumb sucking:

 

  • Family members can offer encouragement to their kids. They can offer praise, positive attention and rewards for not thumb-sucking. For example after a certain number of days, celebrate with your child. Do not punish your child, it will decrease their self-esteem.
  • Find out what cause the stress for your kids, and try to correct the situation. Children often suck their thumb when feeling insecure. Correct the cause of the anxiety.
  • There are dental appliances your child can wear in the mouth to prevent sucking. They are cemented to the upper teeth, sit on the roof of the mouth, and make thumb sucking harder.
  • The longer thumb-sucking continues, the more likely it is that orthodontic treatment will be needed. A dental visit is strongly recommended if your child sucks his thumb around age 4.

     

    To conclude, thumb-sucking is a normal habit for babies and little children. This habit should end by the age of 4. In case this not happened, you should take measures because thumb sucking will affect your child’s teeth and oral health. In case you have such problems, do not hesitate to all Dr. Arhiri to make an appointment.

    References:
    https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/thumbsucking
    https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/thumb-sucking-the-good-the-bad-and-the-normal-0514
    http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2013/08/prolonged-thumb-sucking-can-cause-a-dental-and-even-a-skeletal-open-bite.html
    https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/kids/thumb-sucking-effects-teeth-prevention-remedies
    https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/infant-oral-care/ada-08-thumb-sucking-pacifier-use
    http://www.smileguide.com/thumb-sucking/
    https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/oral-health-problems-children#1
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumb_sucking
    https://www.webmd.com/children/tc/thumb-sucking-topic-overview#1