Does your child suck their thumb? It actually isn’t uncommon as approximately 90% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 suck their thumbs.

While this is normal at that young age, if they are continuing to do it around the age of 5 or 6 when their permanent teeth start coming in, it could lead to issues down the road. That can include:

  • Teeth being pushed around abnormally causing an overbite or underbite to occur.
  • A possible lisp forming as the jawbone positioning may shift.
  • The roof of the mouth becoming more sensitive and/or altered

If you continue to see this activity happening around the age of 5, 6 or greater, it has probably become a habit.

As a parent there is a few things you can do help break that habit.

  1. Explain to your child the long-term effects that thumb sucking causes. If it is explained to them, perhaps using visuals they will stop the habit.
  2. The habit may be a way to cope with stress. Try eliminating various enablers that cause that stress which should lead to less thumb sucking.
  3. Try distracting your child with something they may enjoy when they start sucking it. For example a toy or game.

If you notice any alterations in your child’s teeth due to thumb sucking, speak with your Fresh Dental Smiles dentist or hygienist. They may be able to provide other ways to assist and also answer any other specific questions you may have.

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