What a relief! It’s only 11AM and it feels like you’ve have an entire day already. Fortunately, your child has decided to take a breather and is quietly sitting on the floor watching TV. They’re so adorable when they finally calm down, just sitting there, sucking their thumb…You finally have a moment to think, so of course, you worry. Could their thumb sucking harm their teeth? Dr. David Groy, your family dentist in Leesburg, wants you to know a little bit about thumb sucking and how it can affect your child’s teeth.
Thumb Sucking and Its Effects
Most small children suck their fingers and thumbs, and this is often a positive thing at first. It can provide security and comfort for them. However, it can start to disrupt their permanent teeth if they suck their thumb past age 6. While most will simply stop on their own, many children will persist even while their permanent teeth start to come in. Over time, this can negatively affect them.
Thumb sucking can easily cause their teeth to become misaligned, leading to an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. It can also cause crowding, which can make it more difficult, and even painful for your child’s teeth to keep coming in. Even the surrounding bone structure can be shifted from the constant pressure. All this can affect how your child’s jaw fits together, and can lead to breathing and speaking problems.
After a certain point, the only way to correct these issues is with long-term orthodontic care, which is effective, but most parents would prefer to avoid it altogether. There are a few other things you can do to help handle your child’s thumb sucking.
What To Do
Firstly, the last thing you want to do is try to make your child stop all at once. It can make them feel more anxious, which in turn will cause them to suck their thumbs even more. Patience is key. Try to find out why they are sucking their thumb. That way you can try to change their environment and head-off their normal response. Reward them for not sucking their thumb, or try to make a game out of it. The key is to go slow and try to keep things positive.
Dr. Groy is very familiar with thumb sucking, and is more than happy to help you know what to do about it during your next visit. He can let you know if it’s time to make them stop, or if it’s alright to wait a few more months. He’ll be able to examine their teeth and make sure they aren’t shifting due to thumb sucking, and can advise you on what to look for in the future so you can have peace of mind.
Want To Know More?
You might have more questions about thumb sucking, and that is OK, because Dr. Groy has answers. He’s always ready and able to answer your questions, so feel free to call or e-mail him anytime.