Thumb, Finger and Pacifier Habits and Teeth
Many children grow up sucking on their thumb, finger or pacifier. These habits are generally normal and are part of childhood development. For one, the habit has a calming or soothing effect among babies. When feeling stressed, fatigued, shy or insecure, the immediate reflex of the baby is to make the sucking motion. However, this can have an adverse effect on the bite if these habits continue past the age of three.
Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry offers the best care available for the dental health concerns for children, such as: thumb, finger and pacifier habits, bite problems, and other issues where the growth and placement of teeth are involved. We provide services for your infants, school-age children, and teens. We have a friendly and comfortable office environment to ensure each of your visits is a pleasant and memorable one.
Health Risks of Thumb, Finger, and Pacifier Habits
While sucking a thumb, a finger or a pacifier habit is perfectly normal, there are certain risk factors involved if the mannerisms are prolonged. A strong habit can modify the jawline and cause malocclusion, which is the incorrect meeting of the teeth. The misalignment of the teeth in the upper jaw and the lower jaw results in a bad bite or what others refer to as bucked teeth.
The damage mostly affects baby teeth, but there is a possibility that the permanent teeth will be affected as well. This is especially true if the kid continues the sucking habit past the age of six. Nevertheless, the gravity of the effect depends on the intensity of the sucking habit. Aggressive suckers are most likely to develop bigger dental concerns. Specifically, children who continue sucking will have protruding front teeth, unfavorable effect on the development of the jaw, have an irregular bite, and adverse placement of developing teeth.
The Concern Should be Properly Addressed
Given the issues that can arise due to the habit, there is a need for it to be addressed properly and quickly as you possibly can. The most important part of the intervention is to discourage the mannerism. Parents can praise their kids when they are not practicing this habit as opposed to scolding them when they do. The reasons behind the habit should also be addressed such as giving the child a sense of comfort or eliminating the reason for the stress. If the child avoids making the habit under trying situations, a reward could be given as a recognition of their successful effort.
Educating the Kids at Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry
More than anything else, educating the children about what will happen to their teeth if they continue their sucking habit can encourage them to stop. Knowledge is a very powerful tool, and this is what we provide. During your dental visit, Dr. Mathew Healy can and will gladly provide useful information to make sure your child knows and understands the effects of this habit. We will also give guidance to parents to help their kids put an end to the habit. At Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, we aim to give our patients a head start in attaining ideal oral health. We want to ensure the best oral health for your children.
Contact our office at (316) 202-9629, if you would like to learn more about how you can help your child break their thumb sucking habit today!