How Does Thumb Sucking Affect Teeth?

At Holden Correll Family Dentistry, we are dedicated to providing the proper knowledge and care necessary for a healthy smile. As a leading dentist in Topeka KS, Dr. Correll is experienced in treating children and adults of all ages, offering services ranging from cleanings and exams to cosmetic dentistry.

What Is Thumb Sucking?

Thumb sucking is a natural habit for both infants and children. Sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, or other objects may create a soothing feeling or sense of security to help fall asleep. Thumb sucking is a stereotypical habit with babies, so it may feel unnatural to intervene. However, breaking the habit of thumb sucking is important in avoiding developmental issues in the mouth.

How Can Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?

Once a child’s permanent teeth come in, thumb sucking has the potential to affect proper alignment of teeth and jaw growth. The intensity of thumb sucking is a factor that determines the level of damage. For example, some children who are aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby teeth early on. The force of thumb sucking cause teeth to tip forward, which leads to complicated malocclusions such as open bites, crossbites, or overjets.

What Are The Consequences Of Thumb Sucking?

how does thumb sucking affect teeth topeka ksThumb sucking helps very young children develop jaw muscles, similar to pacifiers. However, thumb sucking is a habit that may cause a child to withdraw and ‘zone out’ instead of interacting. While thumb sucking may appear like an innocent habit, the results can have lasting effects on your child’s health later on in life. The long-term effects of thumb sucking include:

  • Narrowing of the jaw
  • Shrinking the airway
  • Altered breathing
  • Poor swallow patterns
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Hindered speech
  • Abnormal tongue placement

When Should Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?

Children typically stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four years old, or by the time their permanent front teeth start to erupt through the gum line. If you notice abnormalities in your child’s primary teeth or are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, consult with a Topeka dentist such as Dr. Correll. Remember, the older a child gets the more difficult breaking this habit can be.

Finding Out How Thumb Sucking Affects Teeth In White Plains NY

Dr. Correll and our team at Holden Correll Family Dentistry are experts in orthodontic treatment. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding thumb sucking or how thumb sucking affects teeth in Topeka KS. Contact Holden Correll Family Dentistry to schedule a free consultation today. Call now (785) 271-7477.