Is your child damaging his baby teeth by thumb sucking??
Does thumb sucking damage one’s teeth?
Persistent and vigorous thumb sucking, even post the eruption of permanent teeth, may cause problems with the teeth’ alignment. It can also result in changes in the roof of the mouth and affect the jaw. Thumb sucking also poses the risk of exposing your child to dirt, bacteria, and viruses. The intensity of the thumb sucking is a factor that determines how or what the dental problem would be. Children resting their thumbs passively in their mouths without any sucking are less likely to have difficulty than those persistent and vigorous at thumb sucking. Some aggressive thumb-suckers may develop problems with their baby teeth.
In what ways can thumb sucking damage the teeth?
These habits can potentially cause problems in a child’s mouth, teeth alignment, and even facial development and appearance. Reason being that the repetitive pressure of the thumb and sucking on the teeth, jawbone, and roof of the mouth causes these complications
The dental complications that thumb sucking causes are-
In certain cases of thumb sucking, there can be an excessive overlap of the upper teeth. This condition is called an overbite. This can hamper the appearance of your child’s face and smile. Growing up with this form of misaligned teeth tends to make them conscious about their smile or develop low self-esteem issues.
- Open Bite
An open bite is a condition wherein the upper front teeth fail to overlap the lower front teeth. This gives rise to other problems such as redness of gums & improper growth of jaws. We can see other problems such as-
- Changes in the shape of the jaw, which can also affect the alignment of the teeth
- The sensitivity of the roof of the mouth
- Speech pattern issues, such as a Lisp
How can one prevent their child from thumb sucking?
When a child reaches the age group of 2-4 years, it’s high time that you start applying tactics to wean them off this habit; one of the following tips can come in handy: –
- Teaching them as to why they shouldn’t suck on their thumb. It’s a foul habit.
- Try figuring out the triggers that may be causing them to resort to sucking their thumb.
- Do not scold your child if you see them sucking their thumb. Gently try distracting them with a toy or an activity.
- If your child tends to suck their thumb while going to sleep, you can cover their hand with a sock which prevents them from participating.
- Do consult a paediatric dentist to provide a bitter-tasting medication or other ways to stop them from sucking on to it.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex and a common habit that begins before birth, helping calm new-borns and babies, particularly during teething. It should normally last for about the age of 2-4 years. Once a child’s permanent teeth start erupting, thumb sucking may create problems with the growth and alignment of a child’s teeth, cause damage to the mouth, and lead to an increased need for orthodontic treatment. Parents should seriously consider breaking this habit and consult the paediatric dentist to know how to go about it.
Your child’s oral health is as important as yours. Get expert advice and tips for your child’s daily oral hygiene practices by some of the best paediatric dentists across the country. Visit www.savethetooth.in to know more