Can Thumb Sucking Really Affect My Child’s Mouth?

Thumb sucking is a common comfort technique that lots of children use. While it seems harmless enough, many people worry that thumb sucking can displace their child’s teeth and cause permanent palate problems. But are these real issues or simply myths? Let’s get the facts straight about thumb sucking.

What Causes Thumb Sucking

Babies develop a sucking reflex inside the womb so they can properly eat after they are born. This reflex can cause children to suck on their thumbs or other fingers as a way to self-soothe. Most children stop sucking their thumbs by the time they turn 4. However, some children hold onto this habit until they are older.

Can Thumb Sucking Cause Damage?

Thumb sucking doesn’t usually cause dental problems in babies or toddlers. However, it can cause long-term damage in children who have begun to develop permanent teeth by affecting the way teeth align in the upper palate. Help your child break their thumb sucking habit with positive reinforcement. You should also take note of any emotional triggers that may be causing them to suck for stress relief.

How a Dentist Can Help

A pediatric dentist will be able to assess your child’s mouth and determine if thumb sucking damage is likely. They will also be able to offer personalized solutions for your child’s thumb sucking based on their individual needs. Dr. Kahn and his team can help you with this issue. Call us at 832-300-8444 to make an appointment for your child.

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