What You Should Know about Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers gives infants the opportunity to learn about the world, while making them feel happy and safe in their surrounding environment.

Thumb sucking is common with young children because it soothes them and helps them fall asleep. However, thumb sucking can have a negative effect on your child’s teeth. Thumb sucking can cause issues with proper growth of the mouth, change the roof of the mouth, and alignment of the teeth.

Make sure your child is not sucking their thumb through these developmental stages. If they have an oral fixation and need something in their mouth to keep them calm, it is recommended to use a pacifier because in the long run it is an easier habit to break.

The intensity of thumb sucking is a key factor that determines the severity of their dental problems. Children who constantly suck their thumbs, especially aggressive thumb suckers, will have a higher risk of developing dental problems.

It is important to note that children usually stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four years old, or by their time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.

3 Methods to Getting Rid of Thumb Sucking:

  1. Praise your child when they are not sucking their thumb. This serves as a positive reinforcement to combat the negative behavior.
  2. Figure what is the cause of your child’s thumb sucking habit. Most children do it for comfort or to feel secure. If you can properly target and correct the cause of your child’s anxiety, you can provide a more stable form of comfort that won’t harm their oral health.
  3. Have your pediatric dentist offer encouragement to your child by explaining the positives of not thumb sucking.

At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, we want to make sure you and your family are educated on the harmful effects that thumb sucking can have on your child’s oral health. If you notice changes in your child’s baby teeth and/or are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking habits, consult with our Garden City Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Sybil at (516) 758 – KIDS.

Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to serve the surrounding cities: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carle Place, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and many more.

Leave a Comment