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Can Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Mouth?

Published on August 22nd, 2019

When babies are born, they have a natural desire to suck on something. Whether it be a pacifier, thumbs or a finger, the desire to have something in their mouth is natural. However, our orthodontist near Highland Park understands the impact that excessive thumb sucking can have on your child’s mouth. Read more to find out the effects of too much thumb sucking on oral development. 

Consider Your Child’s Age

The effects of thumb sucking are dependent on the age of the child. If your child is in pre-school or younger, you likely won’t have to worry about any lasting effects that thumb sucking has on their oral development. However, pay attention and make sure that your child isn’t developing ear infections, a callus on their thumb or any speech issues. If you notice any of those things, it is time to step in. 

The Potential for Teeth Misalignment

Thumb sucking beyond the age of 5 or 6 can put pressure on the teeth while they are developing, which can impact their alignment. This could result in expensive dental work in the future. In fact, in extreme cases, thumb sucking after the teeth have grown in can cause middle-ear infections, even requiring surgery to remedy the issue. Other potential problems include forming a lisp because the jaw bone’s position is affected, altering the roof of the mouth or getting sick from all of the germs that are ingested. 

Helping Your Child Stop

In order to help wean your child off of their thumb-sucking habit, our orthodontist near Highland Park recommends establishing rules with your child about when they can or cannot use their pacifier. If you notice that they suck their thumbs in their sleep, try putting socks over their hands to prevent them from doing so.

For more tips to help your child stop sucking their thumb, or if you want our orthodontist in Highland Park to look at your child’s mouth, contact Lippitz Orthodontics today!

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