Why a Kid Friendly Dentist in Auburn Discourages Thumb Sucking

Posted on: September 9, 2019

While all parents should take their children for their first dental checkup around age one, it is especially important to see a kid friendly dentist in Auburn if a child has a habit of sucking their thumb. While thumb sucking is a very natural and common practice in infants and toddlers, it can lead to serious dental and orthodontic complications if it becomes a long-term habit. Many dentists discourage thumb sucking to help prevent these and other issues by informing parents of the potential side effects and offering strategies to discourage this unwanted behavior.

The truth about thumb sucking

The natural behavior of sucking fingers or thumbs often occurs in the womb before birth. It can be a source of soothing calm for babies by helping them feel comfortable and safe. Many experts agree that there is no cause for concern if the habit continues into the early preschool years, around age three or four. However, once a child’s baby teeth fall out and the permanent teeth come in, thumb sucking can lead to severe problems.

Improper alignment

Children who suck their thumbs over the course of several years may develop teeth that grow outward instead of straight up or down. This can lead to issues with an overbite, which happens when the top front teeth grow forward. An open bite can occur when both the top and bottom teeth slant out. These types of malocclusion may also alter the proper growth pattern of the rest of the permanent teeth.

Other Complications

While the primary concern of a kid friendly dentist in Auburn is a child’s oral health, there are additional side effects from thumb sucking that may affect other areas of the mind and body. Children who suck their thumbs are at a higher risk for contracting illnesses caused by the spreading of germs. Skin irritation around the mouth and on the hand may develop, including rashes, calluses and pimples. As children age, it may become a source of embarrassment or ridicule from others.

Strategies to end thumb sucking in young children

While thumb sucking is normal, it is also possible to prevent it, discourage it and end it altogether. Parents should attempt to intervene in young infants by removing the thumb or fingers from a baby’s mouth and replacing them with a pacifier. (This habit is a much easier one to break when the time comes.) Once children reach eighteen months of age, begin weaning them from sucking for comfort by offering incentives, positive reinforcement and lots of praise for success. If a child still sucks their thumb or fingers by age four or older, a kid friendly dentist in Auburn may recommend a topical solution to give the thumb a bitter taste and discourage thumb sucking.

Conclusion

Most babies suck their thumbs or fingers in the very early stages of life. While it is not a reason to panic, it is beneficial for parents to intervene immediately to help control the habit and make it easier to break when the time comes. Long-term thumb sucking can lead to poor bite structure and other dental complications, so it is best to discourage this practice in all children once they reach preschool age.

Request an appointment here: https://pier210dental.com or call Pier 210 Dental Group at (530) 982-4077 for an appointment in our Auburn office.

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