How Thumb Sucking Affects Kids’ Teeth

How Thumb Sucking Affects Kids' Teeth Infographic

It’s a natural reflex for children to suck on their thumb or any finger. It can be a normal habit that some babies develop even before birth. It’s calming, and it also helps newborns become in touch with and explore their surroundings. However, if a child’s sucking habits persist until the age of three, biting difficulties may develop.

Thumb sucking isn’t always harmful to the mouth and teeth. Passively holding the thumb in the mouth, for example, does not usually cause harm. Active thumb sucking with lots of movement might cause damage to the baby’s teeth, although this normally corrects itself when the permanent teeth come in.

If you are curious to learn more about your kid’s thumb-sucking habits, keep on reading.

How Thumbsucking

Will Thumb Sucking Affect Teeth?

Does thumb-sucking damage teeth? This is a common question parents usually ask, as they are concerned about their child’s dental development. However, children who habitually suck their thumbs are less likely to develop allergies to pollen and dust mites as adults, according to research published in Pediatrics. So, selecting whether or not to prohibit thumb sucking depends on a number of different circumstances. In addition, not all thumb sucking leads to tooth decay or other oral health problems.

Although, vigorous thumb sucking can cause your child’s permanent teeth to become misaligned, as well as alter the form of their jaw and the roof of their mouth. Sucking on one’s thumb might also potentially expose your child to dirt or other harmful microorganisms.

One of the dental issues from thumb sucking is tooth misalignment since the upper teeth eventually grow to cover the lower teeth in a normal bite. Normal tooth eruption and even jaw growth can be compromised by the pressure of a thumb, finger, or pacifier sitting on the gums. When a kid bites together, the teeth don’t overlap, but rather, there is an open gap between the top and lower teeth in a thumb sucker that develops an “open bite.”

Long Terms Effects Of Thumb Sucking

Repetitive pressure from sucking and squeezing on teeth, jawbones, and roof of the mouth is to blame for this. Some of the following may occur as a result of this:

  • The roof of the mouth sensitivity
  • Changes in jaw form can alter tooth alignment, speaking patterns, and lisping.
  • Other bite issues include bottom teeth that tilt inward or an open bite, where the top and bottom teeth don’t connect when the mouth is closed.

If the habit of thumb-sucking is broken by the time a child’s permanent teeth have erupted, most of these problems will be resolved or avoided altogether.

How To Break The Vigorous Thumb Sucking Habit

Between the ages of 2 and 4, most children naturally stop sucking their thumbs over a period of time, so it’s crucial to remember that. There are a few things you can do if you don’t want your child’s behavior to change: Pacifiers tend to be given up more rapidly than fingers or thumbs. When your child refuses to stop when you tell them to, try using positive reinforcements instead of punishment (e.g., putting a bitter substance on the thumb). Here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Be creative. It’s possible that there is a way that will motivate them. You can try to convince them that you are sending their pacifiers to the tooth fairy.
  • Distract them. Triggers for thumb sucking from every child differs. For example, they do the habit when they are stressed or bored. You might want to give them a hug or play with them if that occurs.
  • Talk to your pediatric dentist. Your dentist will be your guide throughout this, you can always ask them about different oral hygiene techniques, and monitor your child’s dental growth. Maintaining your child’s regular dental exam schedule from the age of 1 year is only one reason why thumb sucking is so vital.

Read Next: Tooth-Friendly Snacks for Children

Contact Junior Smiles of Stafford learn more about thumbsucking

If you are concerned that your child’s thumb sucking habit is affecting their teeth, don’t hesitate to contact the most reputable pediatric dentist in your area. They will be able to provide a thorough examination and recommend an appropriate treatment plan if necessary. With early intervention, most dental problems caused by thumb sucking can be corrected.

Why Choose Junior Smiles of Stafford?

Our Stafford, VA team is well-versed in working with clients of various ages and backgrounds. They’ll take the time to get to know you and your family’s requirements, and they’ll work with you to design a treatment plan that suits your schedule. Sealants and fluoride treatments are just two of the many preventative care options we provide to keep your mouth healthy.

About Us

Visiting Junior Smiles of Stafford means you’re in good hands when it comes to receiving high-quality care. Your child’s dental health improves with each visit, ensuring a brighter smile for years to come. We adhere to the ADA and AAPD’s guidelines for best practices. 

Where Are We Located?

963 Garrisonville Rd #103

Stafford, VA 22556

Phone: (540) 699-2441

Fax: (540) 699-2464


Monday and Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Fridays and Saturdays: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (By appointment only)

How to Book Your Kids First Appointment at Junior Smiles of Stafford

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