Call +1 (800) 895-1570

1535 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146

The Effects of Thumb Sucking on a Child’s Dental Health

Anyone who has even a little experience with children knows that they have a habit of sucking on their thumbs or pacifiers. But little do we know, as this can cause serious harm to your child’s dental health for years to come. 

Extensive research has shown that babies and small children mostly suck on their thumbs to get a sense of comfort and get rid of anxiety. 

But if the habit goes on for a long period, the downside of thumb sucking outweighs the benefits by a long margin. Another thing to note is that if your children are sucking their thumbs aggressively, they are more prone to face dental issues in the long run.

Effects of Thumb Sucking

The first issue that kids who suck their thumb excessively are the misalignment in their teeth. Fixing this problem in the future can cost a ton of money and create a large amount of anxiety as your child grows up. 

In some cases, when children suck their thumb for a long time, pressure builds up in their upper jaw. This eventually results in a very narrow construction of the upper roof of their mouth.

According to the Children dentist in Doral, prolonged sucking on the thumb causes the jaw’s shape to change. So as your child grows up, their jaw will also keep growing misaligned.

Children usually do not understand the reason behind their soreness or aches. So when they suck their thumb for a long time, their mouth gets sore eventually. This can also raise the risk of them developing an ulcer.

Lastly, excessive thumb sucking can cause a newly developed tooth to decay slowly. It damages the teeth’ enamel, and your child may have to opt for complex dental procedures if this goes on.

How to Prevent Thumb Sucking

One of the hardest tasks for any parent is to help your child stop this thumb-sucking habit. Even though this habit helps your kid fall asleep much more easily at night and helps them with anxiety, not stopping it at the right time can cause serious harm.

Here are some of the strategies given by our wonderful team at the best Pediatric Dentist in Doral to help prevent thumb sucking:

  • Positive reinforcement is always the best strategy when it comes to issues with your child. Instead of scolding them when they do it, try to praise them when they do not suck their thumb.
  • There are many kinds of thumb shields, like socks, fabric, or plastic. When they are most likely to suck on their thumb, put the shields on to stop them.
  • Try to help them with their anxiety by replacing the habit of sucking thumb with something harmless like holding a stuffed animal.

For more information on how thumb-sucking affects your child’s oral health and how to take preventive measures, contact Petit Smiles. Our Pediatric Dentist in Coral Gables is always ready to go above and beyond to help you with this issue.