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Impact of Thumb Sucking On Dental Development

Posted on 2/2/2024 by Weo Admin
Little blonde boy sucking on his thumb
Thumb sucking is a common practice in children and can interfere with the health of a child's teeth. If the habit continues for an extended period, it will affect your child's dental development. If your child is above the age of four years and still sucking their thumb, you should be worried about the habit. Here are some common impacts:


Thumb sucking can cause the upper teeth to protrude and the lower teeth to tilt inward. It can result in malocclusion and affect the bite of the child. Your child will have problems speaking and chewing.

Abnormal Jaw Development

Thumb sucking will also cause abnormal development of the jaw. The sucking process puts too much pressure on the upper and lower jaw, causing them to be narrow. You should ensure your child stops their habit of sucking their thumb to avoid such problems.

Speech Problems

Thumb sucking will also lead to problems in speech. Children who suck their thumb, even to the age of 5 years, can have difficulty pronouncing some words. The tongue cannot move in the right way as the thumb is blocking natural movement.

Dental Problems

Thumb sucking can also lead to dental problems, for example, open bite. The condition occurs when teeth are misaligned, and the upper and lower teeth don't meet when you close your mouth. It can also make the child susceptible to tooth decay, as the child frequently introduces new bacteria when sucking the thumb. The constant exposure to bacteria will weaken the teeth's enamel leading to cavities and decay.

If you note your child loves sucking their thumb, ensure you discourage them, to help prevent issues with dental development. A dentist can offer advice and treatment options to help correct the problems. You can use positive reinforcement, offer reminders, and identify potential triggers.

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Blog - Wichita, KS • Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry
At Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Healy created this informative blog to assist with educating the community about various topics of pediatric dentistry.
Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, 3933 N. Maize Road, Suite 200 Wichita, KS 67101 / (316) 202-9629 / / 6/16/2024 / Page Phrases: Pediatric Dentist Wichita KS /