Surprisingly, thumb sucking can lead to more issues than parents realize. Baby dentists specialize in infantile and toddler teeth. You can be certain that taking your little one to a baby dentist is equally as important as going in every other stage of life. Besides, how will the tooth fairy do her job correctly if you don’t take care of your child’s teeth? Let’s dive into the different types of thumb sucking, possible harmful effects, and how to help your child stop or avoid this common habit.

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 Thumb Sucking

 With passive thumb sucking, a baby lightly rests a thumb in their mouth, without putting pressure on the roof of the mouth of teeth. Unfortunately, aggressive thumb sucking can lead to problems due to a baby putting force on their teeth or roof of the mouth using their thumb. In this case, it is fairly easy to see which level of sucking your kid is engaging in.

Thumb sucking can be a natural impulse for children. Therefore, parents need to always make them feel secure and happy and that they fall asleep comfortably.

Potential Effects of Aggressive Thumb Sucking

Your child may have improper mouth growth in a number of areas due to thumb sucking. Not only teeth, but the jaw, palate, and face can be affected. Baby dentists claim numerous negative effects of continuous thumb sucking.

  • Misalignment

Vigorous thumb suckers may develop problems with their baby teeth when they come in. Clearly, this will cause extra pain for your child. We all know that teething can be stressful enough for some infants. Improper spacing such as teeth overlapping or too far apart can affect when adult teeth come in.

  • Overbite

An overbite causes abnormal positioning of teeth. Jaw pain is also possible. Many people have slight overbites and do not require treatment. Although, a severe, untreated overbite can lead to more serious problems, such as joint disorders. Overbites can also get worse with age.

  • Open bite

Open bites form when the lower and upper teeth slant outward at an angle instead of growing directly straight up. Another result of thumb sucking, overbites can cause similar problems as overbites. Jaw pain and/or joint disorders can also arise if an open bite is not managed.

  • Altered jaw and palate shape

A narrowing of the jaw and upper palate can also occur from thumb sucking. The roof of the mouth will usually curve more. This reduces the space between your upper teeth on each side. Needing braces many times are the result from an altered jaw or palate. Even though orthodontic work is very common, if it can be avoided, you will save money and pain for your future teenager.

  • Lisping and other speech or breathing impediments

Having a lisp or other speech problem is a result from an overbite or open bite. Many children have trouble pronouncing certain letters or sounds. Moreover, if a child has an abnormal palate or jaw growth, this can birth possible breathing issues because the spacing and shape of the mouth is misaligned.

How to Help your Child Quit Sucking Their Thumb

Curbing and stopping unhealthy habits such as thumb sucking is, at its core, all about guiding/teaching your child to adapt coping skills. As a result of early healthy coping habits, children can effectively learn to tolerate stressors and self-soothe.

  • Play music for your infant in times when they feel un restful or agitated.
  • Give your baby a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.
  • Without yelling, criticizing, or ridiculing, remind your child to stop sucking.
  • Put a non-toxic, bitter substance on the thumb.
  • Cover your baby’s hand(s) with a sock.
  • If all else fails, contact a baby dentist for other methods. For example, a device can be put on the top palate to curb/stop thumb sucking.

When to take Baby to Dentist

Schedule an appointment with an experienced baby dentist no later than six months after a baby’s first birthday or grows in their first tooth. Call Nia Pediatrics in Marietta, GA today so your baby can have a great first dental visit.