Can thumb sucking affect tooth growth?

motherson_africanamerica_c-1024x682In short: Yes!

After permanent teeth grow in the oral cavity, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth.  Read more below to find out what your Dentist in Centreville recommends.

Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break.

The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby (primary) teeth.

If the child is still having difficulty giving up the habit, speak with a dentist. He or she can demonstrate the child how thumb sucking can harm his/her teeth and mouth, which may provide the incentive needed to quit. If that fails, the dentist may also recommend inserting an oral device, such as a palatal bar or crib, to help curb the activity. Most children, however, will respond with some gentle guidance and reassurance.

How Do You Break the Thumb Sucking Habit?

Breaking the thumb sucking habit can be frustrating, especially when children continue to do it after they have started school. There are, however, several suggestions for making this process easier.

You can try these ideas that can break those habit patterns:

1) Create incentives for quitting, such as using a gold star chart to track progress each week and offer a prize based on the number of non-sucking days.

2) Praise the child whenever he/she is not sucking his/her thumb (positive reinforcement).

3) Talk about thumb sucking in a non-confrontational way. For example, share your own experience and point out characters or famous people who have kicked the habit.

If you have additional questions about thumb sucking, or any other dental query, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.  We are your local Dentist in Centreville, ready to serve you and your family.