Why Do Children Suck Their Thumbs?

Why Do Children Suck Their Thumbs?

Posted by Covington Dentistry on Jan 16 2017, 12:07 PM

Parents need to understand it is natural for babies to suck their thumb. It makes them feel secure and provides a sense of security in new places. Children may resort to thumb-sucking when hungry or to help them sleep.

When Is Thumb-Sucking a Problem?

Germs can transfer from the thumb to the mouth. This can cause the child to have various diseases. Prolonged thumb sucking can also hinder the alignment of teeth and jawbone. Speech and language development can also be impacted as this limits the ability to practice speech.

Orthodontic Impact

The two most common issues that occur due to prolonged thumb sucking are:

Improper Teeth Alignment: The upper and lower teeth get misaligned when you bite down. A posterior crossbite can occur when the upper jaw is too narrow compared to the lower jaw.

Irregular mouth development: The roof of the mouth and tongue are affected by thumb sucking. This may alter the speech and cause a lisp when speaking. 

Breaking the Habit

Dentists recommend the below techniques to help your child to overcome the habit of thumb-sucking

  • Children tend to suck their thumb when they are insecure. Try to comfort the child and find the reason for anxiety
  • Never frighten or scold the child if caught thumb-sucking. Instead, offer them a reward when they don't. 
  • Offer a healthy snack when he or she is hungry
  • Use a thumb-sucking guard. This fits over the child’s thumb and prevents thumb sucking.
  • Offer a clean pacifier to the toddler to break the habit of thumb-sucking. For older children, involve them in games and activities to distract them from sucking his/her thumb.

Talk to Your Orthodontist

Our expert orthodontist can assist you and help your child break the habit of thumb-sucking. They help the child understand the impact of this habit on his/her teeth and jawbone development. The treatment involves counseling, habit breakers, and using expander braces.

Our team could help analyze and monitor your child's dental health. Prevention is better than cure. Early treatment can prevent dental problems from developing. It makes treatment shorter and reduces complications. 

For comprehensive dental care, visit Covington Dentistry at 27121 174th Place SE, Suite 202, Covington, WA 98042. Call us at  (253) 638-9955 for appointments.

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