Request Request Appointment Like Us Like us on Facebook Reviews Read Our Reviews Call Give us a Call Map View our Map
Office Hours

9:00am - 5:00pm
9:00am - 5:00pm
10:00am - 6:00pm
10:00am - 4:00pm
By Appointment Only
By Appointment Only

Is Thumb-Sucking Bad for Your Child’s Teeth?

December 9, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — shinysmiles @ 5:10 pm
child sucking thumb

As a parent, there is no shortage of things to worry about. Even within the realm of your child’s oral health, you probably have a lot on your mind. One thing you might be worried about is thumb-sucking. It’s widely believed that sucking thumbs or using pacifiers can cause problems for your toddler’s oral health. To ease your concerns, here’s a little bit more information about the effect that sucking thumbs can have on your child’s teeth.

Is It a Problem if My Child Sucks Their Thumb?

Sucking thumbs and using pacifiers are both perfectly normal for young children, and in some ways may even be healthy. These actions are soothing, helping your child to sleep longer and better than they would otherwise.

That said, as your child gets older, excessive thumb sucking can start to cause problems for their jaw and teeth. It’s recommended that children be weaned off of pacifiers and thumb-sucking by the age of five if they haven’t dropped the habit sooner

What Issues Can Thumb Sucking Cause?

The problems with thumb sucking start when the jaw starts developing. If your child always has their thumb in their mouth, their jaw could shape around it. In most cases, this results in an overbite.

It’s sometimes said that thumb-sucking can lead to “buck teeth.” While this isn’t exactly true–your child’s teeth will be the same size they would’ve been otherwise–an overbite from sucking their thumb can make your child’s front teeth look bigger relative to the bottom teeth.

How To Stop Children from Sucking Thumbs

Getting a toddler to do anything, or to stop doing something, is always a challenge. If your child is over 5 years old and still reliant on thumb sucking, here are a few things you can try.

  • Replace the self-soothing gesture with another, healthier one. Try having your child hold a stuffed animal or their favorite toy as they sleep.
  • Avoid stressing your child out further by yelling or shaming them about thumb-sucking—this might make them even more dependent on it for comfort.
  • Reinforce good behavior with praise or rewards
  • If your child is old enough, try talking to them about why they need to stop.

Hopefully, this guide has helped to ease a little bit of anxiety about your child’s oral health. Like with anything in parenting, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

About the Author

Dr. Lily is a board-certified pediatric dentist who has always had the desire to help children. Through years of experience, she’s become able to offer her patients of all ages the highest standard of dental care. Dr. Lily received her doctorate at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA, and received her pediatric certification at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. If you have any questions about thumb-sucking or excessive pacifier use, she can be reached at her website or by phone at (469) 925-0861.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.