Does “Thumb Sucking” Negatively Affect the Outcome of Your Child’s Teeth?

For any baby, sucking is a natural instinct. From sucking bottles to sucking fingers, a baby can find comfort in this behavior, and so can a toddler. However, when your baby has “grown up”—or has reached preschool age—this is when “thumb sucking” can be a real problem. Not only can it draw negative attention in a social situation but also it might negatively affect the outcome of your child’s teeth.

When a child sucks his or her thumb, this affects the teeth’s alignment because putting constant pressure on the roof of the mouth can cause the teeth to protrude forward. Your children’s dentist can tell you that this may cause further problems down the road. When a child’s baby teeth are misaligned, the permanent teeth have a greater chance of growing in improperly.

In addition, misaligned baby teeth can actually impact your child’s speech patterns. When the teeth aren’t positioned correctly, your child may have trouble pronouncing particular sounds that can only be made when the tongue and teeth are in the right position.

In order to help a child to combat thumb sucking, you can encourage him or her to stop the habit and offer a reward each day the child successfully does so. In addition, offer soothing alternatives to thumb sucking, such as petting the dog or playing with a favorite stuffed animal. Being proactive in suggesting other ideas offered by your children’s dentist will ultimately help your child to maintain healthy teeth and have the smile that he or she deserves.

Contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633 today to find out more about how you can curb your child’s thumb-sucking habit. Thumb sucking indeed does negatively impact the outcome of your child’s teeth, but by encouraging your child to stop sucking his or her thumb through positive reinforcement, you can have a positive impact on your child’s smile for years to come.