Will Thumb Sucking Affect Your Child’s Oral Health?
Thumb sucking is a common concern for parents. We want to reassure you, though, that most kids stop thumb sucking early on before damage can be done to their teeth and their bite. Sucking is a normal and natural reflex, and for many children, it’s a valuable self-soothing technique.
Some children, however, do hold on to the thumb sucking habit for longer than usual. If your child’s permanent teeth are coming in and he or she is still sucking, this could be a cause for concern.
If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb sucking habit and you’re looking for a kids’ dentist in Arvada, call Generations Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Lindsay Compton has experience helping children get a great start with their dental health as well as a kind and compassionate demeanor that both parents and kids appreciate!
The Problem with Thumb Sucking
If thumb sucking persists past the age of about four, it’s smart to consult a dentist. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s dental care begin by the age of one, and we agree with this recommendation. By starting your child off early, we can track development and keep an eye on habits like thumb sucking so they can be promptly addressed.
If a child continues to suck his or her thumb, the shape of the palate can change, and the teeth can be pushed into an improper alignment that will require orthodontic correction. Misaligned teeth are at greater risk for decay and gum disease and can also lead to discomfort and dysfunction in the jaw joint, uneven wear and tear, and cracked or lost teeth.
Helping Your Child Break the Thumb Sucking Habit
We’re not trying to scare you! Even if your child is older, you can still help them stop sucking their thumb, and we are happy to be your partner during this process.
The first steps to break the thumb sucking habit are:
- Identifying moments when your child isn’t sucking and praise him or her.
- If your child is old enough, involve him or her in the plan to break the habit.
- Try to identify what is prompting the habit. Is your child worried or anxious about something? A visit with your pediatrician might be a good idea.
Sometimes more direct action is necessary. If your child is particularly resistant to breaking the habit, talk to us. We can recommend bitter-flavored nail polish that can help your child break the habit as well as appliances and other techniques.
Your Child’s Dental Health Starts Here!
Call today to schedule an appointment for your child at Generations Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. We’re looking forward to helping him or her start down the road to a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles!