How Thumb Sucking Can Result in the Misalignment of Children’s Teeth and Jaw

Nov 13, 2015

Does your child still suck his or her thumb? Children, 6 and older, who have lost all their front baby teeth, should not suck their thumb, as it can prove hazardous for their teeth and jaw. The habit of thumb sucking ordinarily decreases in children between the ages of 2 and 4. However, this is not the same with every child, as your child may still inadvertently suck their thumb when they feel stressed, bored, or tired.

If this habit continues beyond the age of 6, children may have to visit their family dentist in the future for braces and other dental procedures to align their teeth. If their teeth remain misaligned, it can cause speech impediments.

They may even become the butt of jokes amongst their friends if you don’t take immediate action to prevent the issue of their constant thumb sucking. If their primary teeth have already come out and they suck their thumb, you need to break this habit. Here are some tips to wean your child off thumb sucking:

1. Do Not Constantly Tell Them to Stop

If you keep telling your child not to suck their thumb, you are only making it worse for them. They will out of stress of being told repeatedly not to suck their thumb will continue to do it more.

2. Reward Your Child for Not Doing It

When you spot your child not sucking their thumb, reward them and praise them for their efforts. Tell them if they don’t suck their thumb for an entire thumb, you will award them with an amazing present. Be sure to make that present a toy, and not candy.

3. Distract Your Child with Things

When does your child suck his or her thumb the most?—in the car, while watching TV, or when tired? Once you figure that out, you can provide them with distractions during those situations to break their habit. A small toy such a car or stuffed animal to hold during bedtime may work.

4. Give them Physical Reminders

Sometimes, all a child needs is a reminder of not to put their thumb in the mouth. You can put a bandage around their thumb or put a mitten on their hand at night.

Another solution is to wait it out, as your child may stop sucking their thumb voluntarily as they age. However, if your child’s primary teeth have began to come and they still suck their thumb, you need to contact your pediatric dentist.

Your pediatric dentist can tell you about all the potential risks related to thumb sucking and how the habit can misalign your child’s teeth and jaw if it continues. They may also be able to provide you with more solutions to help your child break the habit for good.

If you are looking for an experienced and qualified pediatric dentist to take your child, visit Spring Cypress Dental. We can help your child smile wide again!


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