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Thumb Sucking: Adorable or Dangerous?

Children often find comfort in thumb sucking. It’s adorable to witness and ultrasound photos have been taken of babies thumb sucking in the womb. Can something that brings so much relief and is so cute, actually be a problem?

Yes, if it goes on too long. The level of intensity and duration of your child’s sucking can create damage to their facial growth ie the way their face gets shaped. If you want to buy thumb sucking devices such as thumb sucking guard etc, then you can check this out.

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Dental Impact Thumb sucking usually results in flaring of upper front teeth and restricts the proper growth of the lower jaw.  These growth changes create an “Open Bite”.   This is when the top teeth do not cover the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed.  When swallowing, as the teeth cannot close together,  a tongue thrust habit is created. 

This constant pushing of the tongue on the front teeth makes the open bite even worse.  Occasionally this tongue thrust habit creates speech problems like lisping or problems like malformed palate leading to breathing problems/apnea.   These are just a few of the dental impact starting from a simple thumb-sucking habit.

There are dental appliances that can be used to break the habit.  A consultation with the dentist when the child is 2 or 3 years old would allow your dentist to monitor the existing dentition and to assess any possible problems.