Why Do Children Suck Their Thumbs?
Children suck on things because sucking
is one of a baby's natural instincts. Sucking makes
them feel secure and content, and may induce drowsiness.
Prolonged thumbsucking (or pacifier sucking) interferes
with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment
of the teeth. This improper development, if not corrected,
will change the appearance of the child's face.
When Should Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?
Children should have ceased sucking between
the ages of 2 to 4. If you are having trouble breaking your
child's habit, try to:
- Comfort him if he is feeling insecure. Sometimes children
suck their thumb for a sense of security.
- Instead of scolding your child for thumbsucking, praise
him when he doesn't suck his thumb, especially during difficult
- Explain to older children the dangers of thumbsucking
and involve them in choosing the method to break the habit.
If you need help stopping your child's thumbsucking
habit, we can provide you with a patient-friendly dental appliance
that will break the habit. Contact Us
for more information and an appointment.
An open bite
often results from thumbsucking or prolonged use of a pacifier.
If the open bite is not corrected early, the child may develop
a habit of deviated swallowing and/or anterior tongue thrust.
(This is when the child presses against the back of his teeth
repeatedly and subconsciously with his tongue). These habits
lead to further dental problems and make correction of the
open bite more difficult.
The best cure
for open bite is to prevent it in the first place by eliminating
thumbsucking and the use of pacifiers as early as possible
for your child. Untreated, open bite can lead to facial malformation,
abnormal speech patterns and significant orthodontic
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Dental WebSmith, Inc.
and Elliot Ledner, DDS, Janet Zaiff, DDS, PC. All rights reserved worldwide.
Disclaimer: The information provided within
is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures.
It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have
specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.