Thumb Sucking and the Effects on Your Child’s Mouth

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Young children and babies tend to suck on their thumbs as a natural soothing method to comfort themselves or help them fall asleep. Children tend to stop sucking their thumbs by the time they’re 2 or 4 years old, about when their primary teeth come out. If your child continues sucking their thumbs, our team here at Premier Dental Care want to help you help your child stop.

As a baby or young child whose permanent teeth haven’t arrived, a pacifier or thumb are acceptable for them to feel secure or as a coping mechanism. When your child’s permanent teeth come in, dental and oral problems may arise if thumb sucking keeps occurring. Changes in the roof may occur as well as proper growth and alignment in the mouth.

This also depends on how intense their thumb sucking is, whether it’s passive (resting their thumbs in their mouth) or aggressive (strongly sucking). Sucking aggressively can cause problems at a young age including issues with baby teeth.

The time to stop thumb sucking is by the age of 4 where effects can begin to result in problems with the teeth, shape of the mouth and even the jaw. The older they get the harder it is to stop the habit. Tips to stop this habit include:

– Praising them when they don’t suck on their thumb.

– Find the source of what may cause them to comfort themselves and focus on ways to relieve that pressure or anxiety.

– Talk to your dentist about encouraging your child during dental visits to stop thumb sucking and inform them what can happen if they continue this habit.

-If the child is older, have them make the decision what approach would be best to help them stop.

– Cover your child’s thumb with a cover, hand with a sock, or even a safe, bitter substance they won’t want to eat. Your dentist may prescribe a medication.

– A mouth appliance given by your dentist is another resource that will stop your child from thumb sucking.

Talk to Dr. Marla Wilson or one of her associates to find the best method for your child. Give Premier Dental Care a call at 317-787-6625 where our dental professionals here in Indianapolis, Indiana, will be happy to schedule an appointment and assist your child.