Thumb Sucking & Your Child’s Teeth


Sucking is a natural reflex for pretty much every child. Whether it is sucking on a thumb, finger, pacifier or any other object, this reflex helps babies feel happy and secure.

It is also a way in which children soothe themselves and often, helps them fall asleep.

How Does Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?

Once your child’s permanent teeth have come in, sucking can cause problems with the growth and alignment of the teeth. It can also have an effect and cause changes to the roof of your child’s mouth
Essentially, the intensity of the sucking will determine whether it is enough to have any negative effects.

If you’re child simply rests their thumb in their mouth, they are not as likely to develop any issues related to it. However, aggressive thumb sucking can even have a negative effect on your child’s primary or baby teeth.

Between the ages of 2 and 4 is when most children stop sucking their thumbs. If you have any concerns about your child’s baby teeth or thumb-sucking, it is a good idea to consult with your dentist. They will be able to give you a better idea of where your child is at in terms of development.

How to Prevent Your Child from Sucking Their Thumb

• Children often use thumb-sucking to help cope with feelings of insecurity and when they need comfort. It is a good idea to focus on correcting to cause of your child’s anxiety and providing them with other forms of comfort.

• Provide your child with praise for not sucking their thumb.

• If the child is a bit older, get them involved in choosing a method to help them drop the habit.

• A visit to your dentist is also a great way to offer encouragement to your child. Your dentist will explain what could happen to their teeth. This is a great way to give your child confidence that quitting the habit is the right thing to do.

If you still have trouble getting your child to stop sucking their thumb, continue to remind them about their habit and the importance of stopping. You can also try bandaging their thumb or putting a sock over their hand at night.

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