Thumb Sucking: How to Avoid Dental Problems

Thumb Sucking Dental ProblemsThumb sucking is a natural and common behavior that many infants start naturally.  Its repetitive nature brings the child security, comfort and relaxation, and in most cases is not a cause for worry.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), many children stop sucking their thumbs and other objects on their own between the ages of two and four. When permanent teeth begin erupting around the age of five or six, your child’s thumb sucking behavior should have ceased.  In cases where thumb sucking persists, problems concerning your child’s dental health can arise.

Prolonged thumb sucking can cause:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Protruding front teeth
  • Malformation of the roof of the mouth
  • Speech problems

How can I help my child stop thumb sucking?

Children who are slow to break the habit may need guidance from their parents or dentist.  If your child is still sucking when his permanent teeth start to erupt, consult your child’s dentist for assistance.  Other tips for helping your child stop thumb sucking include:

  • Always be positive and supportive. Instead of scolding a child for sucking his thumb, give praise or a reward when he doesn’t suck.
  • Distract your child with activities when you notice the thumb in his mouth.
  • Because children frequently suck their thumbs for security, focus on soothing the cause of the anxiety rather than correcting the thumb sucking behavior.  
  • Place an obstacle on your child’s hands at night, such as a mitten or bandage.  
  • Visit Reisterstown Rd Owings Mills, MD and allow your dentist to explain the harmful effects of thumb sucking to your child and encourage him to quit.

If at any time you suspect your child’s thumb sucking behavior may be affecting his oral health, call Reisterstown Rd Owings Mills, MD.  Our Owings Mills dentists are qualified to provide parents with the information and appropriate dental treatment needed to help children stop thumb sucking. A dentist’s advice combined with support from the parents is the best approach to breaking the habit and avoiding dental problems.




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