Child Dental Health: Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking and pacifier usage are common habits for babies and may seem harmless. However, both can lead to an unfortunate array of dental issues. As a parent, it is important to monitor these habits and to know how they affect your child’s dental health.

Thumb sucking/using a pacifier is soothing and relaxing to children, it makes them feel secure. However, when children use a pacifier or suck their thumb, they place pressure on their front teeth. Over time, this leads to teeth misalignment, changes to the roof of the mouth, and overbites. Children with these habits can even develop speech problems. Thus, it is important to help them break this habit before any dental issues arise.

Here are some helpful tips to help your child break their thumb sucking habit:

  • Praise your child for not sucking his/her thumb. Negative reinforcement, such as scolding him/her for thumb sucking, will make them do so even more. 
  • While sleeping, gently remove his/her thumb away from the mouth.
  • Place a band-aid on his/her thumb.

Note: tongue thrusting may happen when thumb sucking has stopped. Tongue thrusting is when a child presses their tongue against their lips while eating, swallowing food, or talking. This can lead to the same dental issues as thumb sucking. If you notice that your child has developed this, please contact us right away. At Premier Dental, your child’s dental health is our top priority!

During the month of February, your child will receive a complimentary visit when you visit us for an exam! If have any questions, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0202 or book an appointment with us online