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Is It Okay For Kids To Suck Their Thumbs?

Posted on 6/5/2023 by Dr. Nick Raptou
Is It Okay For Kids To Suck Their Thumbs?Thumb-sucking is a common behavior among children. Kids suck their thumbs to calm themselves. For instance, thumb-sucking provides a sense of protection when the baby is stressed or worried. They can also suck their thumbs during happy moments. However, if this habit continues past the toddler stage, it can cause long-term dental issues such as:

Dental Malocclusions

Dental malocclusion is the most common side effect of thumb-sucking in kids. This involves teeth misalignment when a child closes their mouth. The common types of dental malocclusions are open bite and overbite. Overbite happens when the upper front teeth protrude beyond the lower teeth. If left untreated, an overbite can lead to severe issues such as jaw pain, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Open bite, another consequence of thumb sucking, occurs when the upper and bottom teeth do not touch each other. This misalignment can lead to discomfort, difficulty biting and chewing, and tooth wear.

Speech Disorder

During thumb-sucking, your baby moves their tongue backward and forward. Wrong tongue placement causes lisps, which involve the tongue pushing out when producing certain words. This habit of forward motion can affect the sounds produced with the tongue. In addition, difficulty in producing words can make your child feel frustrated, and they may isolate themselves from the other children.

Bacterial Infection

Thumb sucking can introduce bacteria into the mouth, causing infection. If left unattended, your kid might experience discomfort and early teeth loss. The infection can also lead to severe oral conditions such as oral thrush, tooth abscesses, dental cavities, and canker sores. The best way to prevent these oral conditions is by stopping thumb sucking earlier or preventing it from happening. This will save you much money in dental repairs and speech therapy sessions. Do your kids suck their thumbs? Contact us for detailed information on how to break the habit.

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