Thumb Sucking

My Kidz Dentist

Pediatric Dentists located in Phoenix, AZ

Thumb sucking is a natural behavior for many children up to a certain age. Past a particular point, though, habitual thumb sucking can actually cause permanent damage to your child’s smile and oral health. The team of pediatric dental professionals at My Kidz Dentist in Phoenix, Arizona, are experts in helping to stop your child’s thumb sucking and reinforcing their healthy smiles. To learn more, schedule an appointment today by calling the office nearest you or booking a visit online.

Thumb Sucking Q & A

What is thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex that begins before your child is even born. While thumb sucking exposes your child to various germs and viruses, there are actually some health benefits to the practice. A study found that children who suck their thumbs are less likely to have allergies to dust mites and pollen later on in life.

Thumb sucking tends to go away on its own, with most children stopping at some point between the ages of two and four, before their permanent teeth begin to come in. Some children, however, continue to suck their thumbs past the age of four, or suck their thumbs intensely.

While thumb sucking doesn’t always cause damage to your child’s teeth, it can have some particularly negative effects if your child continues past a certain age or sucks their thumb vigorously and with a lot of motion.

What oral issues can thumb sucking cause?

Forceful thumb sucking puts a great deal of intense and consistent pressure on your child’s teeth, jawbone, and roof of the mouth. Over time, this pressure can lead to a number of orthodontic and oral health problems, such as:

  • An overbite (where the front teeth protrude out from the jaw and mouth)
  • An open bite (where the top and bottom teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed)
  • A bite where the bottom teeth point inward towards the back of the mouth
  • Changes in the shape of your child’s jaw
  • Sensitivity in the roof of your child’s mouth

Thumb sucking up until a certain age is perfectly normal and won’t necessarily lead to any of these conditions, but if your child is still sucking their thumb past the age of four, you should schedule an appointment at My Kidz Dentist to discuss ways to curb the behavior.

How can I stop my child’s thumb sucking?

Speak to your My Kidz Dentist professional to learn about what you can do at home to stop your child’s thumb sucking. They might recommend a system of praise and rewards, or identifying your child’s thumb-sucking triggers and distracting them when those triggers arise.

If these behavioral modifications don’t work, your dentist can prescribe an orthodontic device called a tongue crib that physically prevents your child from sucking their thumb. Thumb cribs are typically an effective means of breaking a thumb-sucking habit within a matter of months.

If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with the team at My Kidz Dentist. Simply call the office nearest you or book a visit online and let the team of pediatric dental experts help to stop your child’s thumb sucking.