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Dentist for Children Explains How Thumb Sucking Affects Your Kid's Teeth August 2, 2020

Pearl City, Ewa
Dentist for Children Explains How Thumb Sucking Affects Your Kid's Teeth , Ewa, Hawaii

Babies in the womb, infants, and toddlers engage in thumb sucking as a natural reflex. Children suck their thumbs to comfort themselves, feel more secure, and relieve stress, but the practice may affect their pediatric dental care. Here’s how thumb sucking can impact your children’s teeth and how to help them break the habit.

What Effects Can Thumb Sucking Have?

Thumb sucking can prevent a child’s incoming permanent teeth from lining up correctly. Kids may need to wear braces as part of their dental care to achieve proper alignment for chewing or correcting an overbite. Additionally, the thumb and repetitive sucking apply pressure on the jawbone, teeth, and roof of the mouth, which affects their sensitivity and proper growth. 

dental careWhether dental problems occur depends on how hard your child sucks on their thumb. If they hold the thumb in their mouth passively, they are less prone to developing misaligned teeth than kids who suck vigorously or aggressively. To avoid tooth alignment or mouth development problems, it’s wise to stop kids from sucking their thumbs before their permanent teeth start erupting.

How to Curb Thumb Sucking

Between the ages of two and four, children’s first baby teeth fall out, and the permanent teeth appear. Kids usually stop thumb sucking on their own during this time. However, if your child continues the habit, following a few simple tips may encourage them to stop.

Giving enthusiastic praise when you see your child is not sucking their thumb is more effective than fussing at them while sucking. If you notice they’re using their thumb to relieve anxiety, try to discover and eliminate their stress. For nighttime thumb suckers, putting socks on their hands when sleeping may deter them.


If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb sucking and dental care, get advice and help from the friendly team at Dentistry For Kids in Pearl City, HI. Paul K. Seo, D.D.S., M.S., leads this skilled and compassionate children’s dental practice to provide comprehensive care for Oahu residents. To make an appointment for your little one, contact the dentist on their website or call (808) 486-8881.

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