Many children turn to thumb sucking as a way to help them feel secure and comforted. It is a habit that begins at a very young age — sometimes while in the womb — and can last for many years. While this isn’t a dangerous habit, it should be stopped before a child’s permanent teeth come in.
Let’s talk about several side effects that may occur if your child continues sucking their thumb and struggles to break the habit.
1. It Can Affect the Teeth’s Placement
Unfortunately for children who continue to suck their thumbs, they will often experience crooked or out-of-place teeth. Sucking on the thumb for long periods of time can cause the child’s teeth to move and affect its placement. However, it isn’t just the teeth’s placement that is altered.
Frequent thumb sucking can also cause an overbite or underbite to form, which will need to be corrected by specialists when the child becomes older.
2. It Can Alter the Roof of the Mouth
When the thumb is constantly in the child’s mouth, it can continually press upon the roof of the mouth. Over time, this can cause the roof of the mouth to become malformed, and it will need professional treatment from a specialist to correct the problem.
3. It Can Cause Speech Complications
Another serious side effect of thumb sucking is that it can affect various aspects in the mouth. These include tongue placement, teeth alignment, and more, which can all affect a child’s speech. With these issues, it can make certain sounds difficult for children to say.
Additionally, children who suck their thumb as their permanent teeth grow increase the risk of having a lisp.
4. More Physically Ill
Due to children constantly placing their finger in their mouth, they are more prone to becoming sick, particularly in their school years. For children who suck their thumb often, it is vital that they wash their hands as much as possible to keep themselves safe and to prevent spreading germs.
For most young children, they will gradually stop sucking their thumbs on their own by the time they are the age of four. But, in some cases, intervention and assistance are needed to help break the habit.
For questions regarding your child’s oral habits or if you have any concerns for their teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist at Pickering Square Dental today.