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How Does Thumbsucking Affect a Child’s Teeth?

May 23, 2016

childrens dentist in 80029Thumbsucking is a common habit in young children. Sucking is one of the first actions they learn, after all — and so a child’s thumb may provide soothing comfort as they interact with the world around them. While it’s normally a passing phase, thumbsucking that persists well into childhood can negatively affect the development of the mouth, especially the proper alignment of the teeth. Keep reading to learn more about the habit from your children’s dentist in 80029.

Thumbsucking Factors and Your Child’s Teeth

If you’re wondering whether your child’s thumbsucking habit is negatively affecting his or her teeth, the answer is… it depends. Most children stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of 2 and 4, or when the front teeth erupt. A thumbsucking habit that lasts beyond this stage is more likely to cause problems with the proper alignment of these and other teeth. The development of the roof and other parts of the mouth can also be affected by thumbsucking.

Another factor affecting the teeth is the amount of force with which your child sucks his or her thumb. Sometimes, what appears to be thumbsucking is just passive resting of the thumb in the mouth — an action that will have little effect on the teeth. But if your child is actively, forcefully sucking his or her thumb, more pressure is placed on the teeth and oral structures and problems may develop as a result.

How to Stop A Child From Thumbsucking

If you’re concerned your child’s thumbsucking is affecting his or her teeth, consult your children’s dentist in 81401 about how to help her break the habit. Some tips for encouraging a child to stop thumbsucking include the following.

  • Provide positive reinforcement by praising your child for not sucking when she normally would — like in new situations or when saying goodbye.
  • If your little one sucks her thumb as a result of anxiety, work on comforting her and helping her manage the feeling by talking about it.
  • If your child is an older thumbsucker, ask for their input in putting together a stop-sucking plan.
  • Place a bandaid on the thumb to remind her not to suck.

Your children’s dentist in 80022 can also discuss with your child in a friendly, approachable manner the potential problems that can develop as a result of thumbsucking.

Need a Thumbsucking Intervention?

Don’t wait to seek help in preventing your child’s thumbsucking habit. Remember that sucking the thumb affects the alignment of the teeth as well as the overall development of the mouth. Contact your pediatric dentist in Thornton, Montrose and Reunion to determine whether or not your child’s habit is harming her teeth or for a thumbsucking intervention! Request your child’s appointment today.

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