The Thumb Sucking Does Have Some Potential Harms For Your Child’s Oral Health

Thumb sucking may appear a beautiful act but it does have some potential harms for your child’s oral health.

The sight of a child sucking their thumb is as beatific as it can get. It’s pure bliss, something most parents rejoice, albeit secretly. However, thumb sucking is also a concern for a good number of parents as the habit comes with its own drawbacks

Worried parents often approach the dentist or seek medical consultation in regard to this very habit as they want their little ones to get rid of that at the earliest.

That good part is, most kids often stop thumb sucking fairly early even before it reaches the stage of causing severe damage. And if they continued for long, it would impact their teeth and bite in one way or other. On the whole, this whole thumb sucking thing is actually a natural reflex and children use it as a self-soothing technique. It can only become problematic if a child does not stop the habit before the age of 3 or 4.

Are your concerned with your child’s thumb sucking habit?

It’s natural for parents to feel concerned at their little one’s habit of sucking their thumb non-stop. They know it might be bad for oral health.

You have reasons to feel worried when –

  • The habit is continued on for longer than usual

  • If the sucking is not stopped even when the child’s permanent teeth are coming in

  • The sucking frequency or intensity is not coming down after the age of 4

Potential oral harms of thumb sucking

Thumb sucking may appear a beautiful act but it does have some potential harms for your child’s oral health. If the practice is not curbed timely, it could pose a lot of dental or oral challenges later on.

Some of oral issues that thumb sucking can lead to include –

  • The shape of the palate can alter

  • The teeth can acquire an improper alignment

  • Misaligned teeth can happen which needs orthodontic correction

  • Any disturbance to the teeth alignment may increase the risk of tooth decay

  • Gum disease can also happen with teeth misalignment

  • The habit may also cause discomfort and dysfunction in the jaw joint

  • The child may experience – in future – an uneven wear and tear

  • There will always be a risk of cracked or lost teeth

  • Teeth may get pushed around, causing an overbite or an under bite to form

  • The jaw bone positioning may be impacted leading to a lisp

  • Germs from the thumb may enter the system to cause diseases

  • The roof of the mouth may change or become more sensitive

Quite clearly, thumb sucking comes with a lot of potential risks worth not ignoring. For that reason, seeking the help of a dentist can take you in right direction. Or you can also encourage your child to ditch the habit altogether and keep their dental or oral health intact.

Tips to help your child break the thumb sucking habit

All habits can be changed, altered or modified, provided you take steps in the right direction. Even if your child is older, you can coax him/her into breaking free of the habit and then returning back to the normal self.

Here are the tips that can help –

1. Identify the moments when the child sucks or not

The first step is to identify those moments when you child sucks the thumb and when not. This way you could get a fair bit of idea of what drives them into doing this. You can focus on the moments when the child does not suck and then, need to create the “same moments” to minimize the act altogether. This will work big time.

2. Look to create positive distractions when he/she sucks

Many parents do this – they try to distract their little ones out of the act of thumb sucking and lure into doing something rather beneficial. If you could manage to create such periods more often than not, it will definitely be able to bring down the frequency of the act. So, go ahead and come up with something distracting that engages your child

3. Try to break their usual schedule or rhythm

Most child will continue to suck their thumb if their routine is the same. They may be doing it out of boredom or dullness. As a parent, you should look to break their usual schedule as it can work wonders. For example, if your child starts sucking the thumb the moment you put them in front of the TV, you can then easily break this habit and disturb their rhythm.

4. Praise and reward mechanism

If nothing works, you can try the praise and reward mechanism. Tell your child to stop doing the sucking and you will fetch him a chocolate and so on. Even if that does not work, consult the dentist. But yes, worry not, as dental implants Manhattan are there even if thumb sucking may cause tooth decay.

Author Bio:

Akshay Sharma is a digital marketing enthusiast and has written many topics in the related field. He works for Four Ever Smile, which offer affordable dental manhattan area.