Does your child have a tendency to suck on their thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers? No worries parents! For many children, this behavior is completely normal. Often, children do this as a source of relaxation and comfort. Typically, children stop between the ages of two and four on their own. However, if your child continues to suck on their fingers or thumbs beyond the eruption of their permanent teeth, dental problems may arise.
How Can Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?
Prolonged and excessive thumb and pacifier sucking can affect your child’s bite as well as the growth of your child’s jaw and bones that support their teeth.
Problems that could affect your child’s physical health include:
- Crowded, crooked teeth or bite issues.
- Speech development issues.
- Misaligned jaw.
- Changes in the structure of the roof of the mouth.
How Can I Help My Child Stop Thumb Sucking?
- Observe your child’s thumb sucking patterns. Sometimes children suck their thumbs when they want to be comforted. If your child sucks their thumb when they’re tired, try letting her or him nap longer.
- Praise your child for not sucking on their pacifier or fingers. Create a chart and reward them for a change in behavior.
- Find alternative ways to help your child relax. You can offer them a blanket, or special toy to play with instead.
When Should I Be Worried about My Child’s Thumb Sucking?
At your child’s dental appointment we will assess your child’s dental needs and discuss any questions and concerns you have about your child’s development. Visit any of our five convenient pediatric dentist offices located in Kansas City, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, and Shawnee, Kansas. Contact us for an appointment today.