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Thumb Sucking Problems

thumbsucking1-194x300Thumb Sucking is a common habit in growing children. Thumb Sucking can begin when a child is young, but if not treated, can last for years. This habit can negatively impact the growth of the teeth and jaws. Fortunately, orthodontic intervention combined with a willing and able patient can correct the problem. We have answered some frequently asked questions below.

Question 1: At what age does thumb sucking begin and why?

Answer: At birth, a baby is born with the sucking reflex which is responsible for breastfeeding. This reflex disappears when a child becomes about 4 months old, but can last much longer.

Question 2: At what age should thumb sucking stop?

Answer: Most children stop sucking on Their thumbs between the ages of 2 and 4.  However, some older children will retain the habit through adolescence into adulthood.

Question 3: What kind of thumb sucking dental problems can I expect?

Answer: Thumb sucking can adversely affect the growth of the developing upper and lower jaws, leading to issues such as compromised speech, chewing efficiency and esthetics. Once permanent teeth erupt thumb sucking may negatively affect the position of the erupting permanent teeth.

Question 4: How can I prevent my child from sucking his/her thumb?

Answer: The ADA recommends to do the following:

-Praise a child for not sucking their thumb instead of scolding them when they do.

-Identify why the child is sucking their thumb. Some children suck their thumb because they feel insecure, in this case focus on correcting the cause of anxiety.

-Some children suck their thumbs because they are bored, try to engage your child in a fun activity to distract them.

-Deter your child from sucking their thumb by placing a bandage over their thumb or putting a sock on their hand at night.

The AAO recommends an initial orthodontic consultation be performed by the age of 7. If your child has permanent teeth growing in and you suspect he/she has a thumb-sucking habit we recommend you consult an orthodontist for evaluation as soon as possible.

This post first appeared on Resource Blog | The Brace Place, please read the originial post: here

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Thumb Sucking Problems


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