What Is Thumb Sucking?
Thumb sucking is a habit and natural reflex for children and infants. Sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, or other objects may create a feeling of security or soothe them to help with falling asleep. Thumb sucking is a stereotypical habit of babies, so it may feel unnatural to intervene. However, breaking the habit of thumb sucking is important to avoid causing developmental issues in the mouth.
How Can Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?
Once a child’s permanent teeth come in, thumb sucking may affect the proper alignment of the growth of teeth and jaw. The intensity of thumb sucking is a factor that determines the level of damage. Some children who are aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby teeth early on. The force of thumb sucking can cause teeth to tip forward, which leads to complicated malocclusions such as open bites, crossbites, or overjets. These issues may require the need for orthodontic treatment such as braces or Invisalign later in life.
What Are The Consequences Of Thumb Sucking?
Thumb sucking, similar to pacifiers, may assist very young children develop jaw muscles. However, after that, it quickly becomes an issue. Thumb sucking is a habit that may cause a child to withdraw and ‘zone out’ instead of interacting. While thumb sucking may appear like an innocent habit, the results can affect your child’s health later on in their adult life. The long-term negative consequences of thumb sucking include:
- Narrowing of the jaw
- Shrinking the airway
- Altered breathing
- Poor swallow patterns
- Misaligned teeth
- Hindered speech
- Abnormal tongue placement
When Should Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?
Children usually stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four years old, or by the time their permanent front teeth start to erupt. If you notice abnormalities in your child’s primary teeth or are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, consult with a Franklin Square orthodontist such as Dr. Boral. Remember, the older a child gets the more difficult breaking this habit can be.
Finding Out How Thumb Sucking Affects Teeth In White Plains NY
Dr. Boral and our team at First Class Orthodontics are experts in orthodontic treatment. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding thumb sucking or how thumb sucking affects teeth in Franklin Square NY, West Hempstead NY, Valley Stream NY, Elmont NY, and Garden City NY. Contact First Class Orthodontics to schedule a free consultation today. Call now (516) 292-6484.