You may be concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking and wonder what will happen if they don’t give up the habit by the time their teeth come in.
Children suck on things because sucking is one of a baby’s natural reflexes and as infants get older, sucking serves other purposes. It may make them feel secure and happy and helps them learn more about their world. Young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects in order to soothe themselves. Thumb sucking also helps induce sleep for young children.
After the permanent teeth come in, thumb and finger sucking could cause problems with the growth of the teeth and with teeth alignment. In some cases, children could suffer a severe overbite or problems with the roof of their mouth. The damage done to the mouth and teeth depends on how hard the child sucks their thumb or finger. Some aggressive thumb-suckers even see problems beginning with their baby teeth.
If your child sucks their thumb, fingers or other objects such as a pacifier, they need to break the habit before their permanent front teeth come in – if not sooner. Examine your child’s teeth on a regular basis and if you notice any changes consult the dentist as soon as possible.
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