Infants are hard-wired with a sucking reflex. It is perfectly natural for babies to suck their thumb or pacifier. Nearly all children suck their thumbs at some point. However, thumb sucking after six months of age can cause future problems.

Issues from Thumb-Sucking

The force of thumb sucking causes the shape of the mouth and position of the teeth to change. Baby teeth set the path for permanent adult teeth. Thumb sucking alters that path and causes damage even before the permanent teeth come in. It creates unhealthy bite patterns such as an open bite, crossbite, or overbite. All of these are difficult and painful to correct later.

Other issues include speech difficulty, narrowing of the jaw and palate, and altered breathing patterns because of shrinking the airway. Late thumb sucking also causes abnormal tongue positioning. The tongue is important to the growth of the mouth and dental arch. When the dental arch is abnormal it can cause further airway issues.

Break the Habit

It is challenging to teach children to stop sucking their thumbs, especially as they get older. The longer your child sucks his or her thumb, the more likely there will be issues later. At Carolina Smiles Dentistry, our dentists can explain the risks of thumb sucking and support you with the best way to stop the bad habit. Address the problem with your dentist early on to prevent expensive and painful fixes in the future.

Our office specializes in children and teen oral health care. Children will find the underwater theme in our office particularly intriguing and inviting. Our goal is to make sure the dentist office is a positive experience for young children while instilling in them good oral hygiene habits they can take with them throughout adulthood. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for your child with us today at (919) 620-6700. *

*This article is for educational and informational purposes only. A doctor/patient relationship is not established through this article, social media, or website use. No diagnosis or treatment is provided. The information provided here should be used in consultation with a provider of your choice. This article is not intended for or offers specific medical, surgical, or dental advice to anyone. There are no guarantees or warranties made regarding any of the information contained within this article, social media, or website. Carolina Smiles Dentistry ©2018


Contact us

4210 N. Roxboro St., Suite 100
Durham, NC 27704

Follow us

2024 © Carolina Smiles Dentistry

website design by Minuteman Press Web Design