Can Thumb Sucking Lead to Crooked Teeth?

Thumb and finger sucking is a common method of self-soothing for babies and toddlers. Babies are even seen in sonograms sucking on their fingers and sometimes their toes! Some children don’t suck on their finger or thumbs at all while others may prefer a pacifier. While all of these behaviors are normal, when a child reaches between 2 to 4 years of age, they’ll begin to naturally outgrow this behavior.

Children who do not grow out of thumb sucking have a higher potential for oral health problems as they mature and grow. If these habits continue as they age, their top teeth may begin to grow in at a forward angle, which can cause misalignment and potentially lead to jaw and bone health issues.

When do I Know if Thumb Sucking is a Problem?

Your child should begin seeing our pediatric dentist in Charlotte NC as soon as their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday. Dr. Gordon-Holt is specially trained in infant and children’s oral health care.

Always be upfront and honest with us about the child’s oral health regimen and habits such as chewing, orally exploring, sucking on their thumbs, finger, pacifiers, or other objects. If your child has any of these oral habits, Dr. Holt will make sure to keep a very close eye on your child’s teeth alignment and growth patterns.

Treatment for thumb sucking normally begins when:

  • A child still has oral habits after 3 years old
  • Your child’s teeth are growing in a way that will cause oral health issues
  • The thumb sucking is causing a language delay
  • The child’s bite is affected

How to Stop Thumb Sucking

Most children stop sucking their thumb when they are old enough to understand the consequences. A long talk with your pediatric dentist in Charlotte NC and support from the parents usually can help children cut the habit fairly quickly. If more drastic measures need to be taken, Dr. Holt can provide you with more options to help eliminate this harmful dental habit.

Still looking for a top children’s dentist in Charlotte? Call Dr. Gordon-Holt today at (704) 542-2325 to schedule your visit.

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