Why Is Thumb Sucking Bad for Children’s Teeth?

Why Is Thumb Sucking Bad for Children’s Teeth?
Posted on 06/04/2018
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Thumb sucking is something children naturally do. It may comfort them and help them feel secure. However, when children continue sucking their thumbs as their permanent teeth emerge, long-term problems may develop. If this happens with your child, you may want to consult a kids’ orthodontist in Thomasville such as Dr. Bradley Adams.

Problems Caused by Thumb Sucking

In addition to their thumbs, children also may suck their fingers, pacifiers, or toys. Dental problems can occur, though, if a child continues this practice beyond the age of five. Some of the issues associated with thumb sucking after age five include:

  • Teeth becoming misaligned
  • Development of an overbite
  • Upper and lower jawbones becoming uneven
  • Malformations can develop in the roof of the mouth

Oral problems caused by sucking can make speech difficult, as children may have problems pronouncing certain words. If misalignment does occur, an experienced orthodontist can help with braces in Valdosta.

How to Help Children Stop Thumb Sucking

It is important to remember the practice of thumb sucking is common and not a cause for concern unless it continues after permanent teeth start emerging. Children must make the decision themselves to stop sucking their thumbs. The role of parents is to give them encouragement and support without nagging or scolding, as such negative reactions can drive a child back to the habit, especially if it provides a sense of comfort and security. There are multiple ways to help children stop sucking their thumbs, like:

  • Offering positive reinforcement and rewards for not sucking their thumb.
  • Giving your child praise when they do not suck their fingers or thumb.
  • Cover your child’s thumb or fingers with a bandage as a reminder not to suck.

If thumb and finger sucking persists, older children may need additional encouragement and assistance, such as:

  • Talking with them to discover why they suck their thumb or finger. Finding out what the cause is can help you make better decisions on how to stop the habit.
  • An orthodontist or dentist can prescribe dental appliances to discourage sucking by making it more difficult.
  • Going to an orthodontist, like Dr. Adams to help stop sucking with an orthodontic tool known as a habit appliance.

Many problems with teeth can occur, and a reliable orthodontist in Valdosta can correct them to help ensure a healthy mouth, which, in turn, improves overall health. An orthodontist also can show your child how to care for their teeth with braces.

Contact Our Office Today

Do not wait to help your child stop thumb or finger sucking. If you are concerned because your child is 4 or 5 and still sucking, contact the office of orthodontist Dr. Bradley Adams. We can answer your questions and schedule an appointment. We have two convenient locations. Call our Valdosta office at 229-247-6960 or our Thomasville practice at 229-226-3633.

Adams Orthodontics

  • Valdosta Location - 816 Northwood Park Dr., Valdosta, GA 31602 Phone: 229-247-6960 Fax: 229-247-8870
  • Thomasville Location - 415 East Jackson Street, Thomasville, GA 31792 Phone: 229-247-6960 Fax: 229-247-8870
  • Tifton Location - 1807 Old Ocilla Rd., Tifton, GA 31794 Phone: 229-247-6960 Fax: 229-247-8870

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