Effects of Thumb Sucking Habits

Posted on January 29, 2019

My child is sucking their thumb. Is this normal?

Sucking on thumbs or pacifiers is a natural, comforting reflex for babies and children. Most toddlers stop this habit on their own between the ages of 2-4 years old. However, if the thumb sucking habit is continued beyond this age, it can cause problems in the mouth that may lead to needing braces.

Conditions that can occur from excessive thumb sucking:

  • Open bite: Top and bottom teeth do not come together when biting down.
  • Cross bite: Posterior teeth do not come together due to the narrowing of the upper palate. This causes misalignment of the dental arches.
  • Speech issues

Here are some recommendations for parents who struggle getting their child to break this habit:

  • Use positive reinforcement such as a reward when your child is not sucking his/her thumb.
  • Identify triggers and provide comfort in other ways.
  • Provide a constant reminder every time you see your child sucking their thumb. Often times, they are unaware they are even doing it.
  • Hang in there! Habits are hard to break, and as adults we know this. Be patient with your child and try different techniques.

At Cardinal Orthodontics, we work with our patients who have thumb sucking habits and educate them on ways to stop. Our complimentary thumb game that can be played between our treatment coordinator and your child will hold them accountable when tracking their thumb sucking habits. This game is found to work 90% of the time if the child admits they want to stop sucking their thumb.

If you would like your child to be seen in our office for a free consultation, please contact us at: 314- 962-6242. We have two convenient locations in Webster Groves and Ballwin, MO.

Categories: Orthodontic Treatment
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