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Thumb Sucking & Orthodontic Issues

Posted in Airway, General, Related Conditions

While thumb sucking is a perfectly normal behaviour in young children, it can cause a variety of orthodontic issues if it goes on for too long.

Is thumb sucking bad for my child's oral development?

Gentle thumb sucking in children's early years may help them to relax and sleep. However, it's important for parents to keep an eye on their child's thumb sucking, since it may lead to some damaging effects on the child's developing teeth and mouth.

Vigorous thumb sucking that persists after the permanent teeth have started to erupt can cause the following orthodontic issues:

  • Open bite (top and bottom teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed)
  • Overbite (front teeth protrude from the jaw and mouth)
  • Bottom teeth that tip toward the back of the mouth
  • Changes to the jaw shape, affecting the alignment of the teeth
  • Lisp
  • Changes to the shape of the roof of the mouth

Many of these effects can be resolved or even avoided completely as long as the child stops thumb sucking before their permanent teeth come in. 

How Can Orthodontics Help?

Your orthodontist can give you tips and advice on how to train your child to stop thumb sucking.

If your child has developed misalignment or other oral health issues as a result of prolonged thumb sucking, orthodontic treatment can help, especially if the issues are addressed early. Early intervention allows us to work with your child's mouth as it grows, while it is still malleable. This means that treatment can often be less invasive and oral conditions never become as serious as they otherwise might.

If your child sucks their thumb, we may be able to help. Get in touch.

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