5 Side Effects of Thumb Sucking That May Harm, Your Kid

5 Side Effects of Thumb Sucking That May Harm, Your Kid

March 1, 2022

From infancy, your child will practice sucking behaviors to calm themselves. Many parents rely on teething toys and other items designed for children to suck to balance emotions. Your child may develop a thumb-sucking habit as they get older. Thumb sucking can lead to long-lasting side effects if the pattern continues after four. There are several possible side effects due to prolonged thumb sucking that include;

1. Open Bite

Types of dental malocclusion are the most severe side effects of thumb sucking. Malocclusion describes tooth misalignment that protrudes even with your mouth closed. Open bite and overbite are the two most common malocclusions resulting from thumb sucking.

Open bite results from the top and bottom front teeth directing outward. Therefore, the front teeth do not touch even when the child closes their mouth completely.

Orthodontic therapy may be a better treatment option for children with open bite malocclusion. In addition, the treatment prevents dental misalignment from becoming more complicated, necessitating future orthodontic treatment.

2. Overbite

Like open bite, overbite misalignment occurs when teeth are directed outward. However, the misalignment occurs at the upper front teeth in an overbite configuration. The misalignment means that the upper teeth cover the lower completely when your child closes their mouth.

Overbite malocclusion affects your child’s smile and the shape of their face. Some people may apply extensive orthodontic treatment to correct the problem of having extreme overbites.

In some cases, patients suffering from overbites may be treated with headgear and other alternative orthodontic appliances since the teeth overlapping prevent the placement of metal braces properly.

If your child suffers from either open bite or overbite malocclusion, visit a pediatric dentist near you for treatment.

3. Skin Problems

If your child is sucking their thumb over the years, they may experience severe or uncomfortable skin problems. In addition, the skin becomes vulnerable to other injuries when exposed to the -mouth’s moisture. Your child’s skin may bleed or crack in some cases, making your child’s hands vulnerable to infection.

4. Speech Impediment

The development of the palate, jaw, and teeth are affected by thumb sucking, making the habit affect how your child eats and speaks. Thumb sucking may also cause lisping and other speech impediments such as the inability to pronounce constant complex sounds like “T.”

Even high-quality speech therapy may not fully correct the impediments when your child doesn’t have correct dental care. This is because the distorted sound is caused by the shape of your child’s teeth with their tongue.

Your child’s communication skills are made more difficult by speech impediments. In addition, many children with speech impediments experience high levels of anger and frustration.

5. Social Issues

The habit of thumb sucking may cause social issues. If your child sucks their thumb in public, they may become the target of ridicule from their peers. Even though thumb sucking is a regular childhood habit, more people will judge them for continuing the pattern as the child grows older.

When Will My Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb?

As many children grow in age, they stop sucking their thumbs independently. Often, they stop at the age of six to seven months or between two to four years. However, even the children who had stopped sucking their thumbs might go back to the behavior during times of stress.

Steps to Help Your Child Avoid Sucking Their Thumb

Although many children stop sucking thumbs on their own, some don’t stop the behavior even when they get older. Some strategies may help your child from stopping the behavior. The strategies include:

Taking Them to the Dentist

Your child may need a nudge from someone other than you to kick the thumb-sucking habit completely. Make a dentist appointment today at Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Jackson and ask the dentist to talk to your kid about stopping the thumb sucking habit. We have many colorful and kid-friendly educational resources to help your child quit the behavior.

Apply Bitter Nail Polish

Your child will be deterred from sucking the thumb by applying bad-tasting polish.

Use Finger Guard

Some kits like gloves will prevent your child from sucking their thumb.