• November 8, 2021
common oral effects of thumb sucking

It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s oral health. Even before teeth erupt, you can begin to take cares of your baby’s oral health. Many parents have questions about the effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers, especially on the alignment of teeth, as a child grows.

Any exhausted parent will tell you that thumb sucking and pacifiers are a great way for children to soothe themselves. It’s natural for babies to want to suck on something and the practice typically doesn’t cause long-term harm if the child drops the habit as a toddler.

But, if the instinct to turn to thumb sucking or pacifiers extends to age four, five or beyond, permanent damage is a risk.

Effects of Thumb Sucking

Long-term thumb sucking and pacifier use can cause malocclusion issues, which is misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. Issues that can result include:

  • Open Bites.
    Front upper and bottom teeth do not come into contact when the mouth closes.
  • Over Bites.
    Front teeth overlap bottom teeth in an exaggerated way.
  • Incorrect Jaw & Facial Development.
    Anything that is constantly between the teeth does not allow the jaw to position properly. As such, this can affect the development of the facial muscles and bones. 
  • Speech Development Issues.
    Long-term thumb suckers and pacifier users can experience poor tongue control, which may result in difficulty pronouncing certain vowel sounds.

Rely On Your Dentist For Help

By bringing your children in for regular checkups and teeth cleaning from an early age, your dentist can identify if issues are being caused by thumb sucking or pacifier use. X-rays can spot development issues that can be reversed with early intervention or orthodontic care.

If you’re looking for a kid’s dentist in Shorewood to answer questions about your child’s dental care, book an appointment with Shorewood Family Dental Care by calling 815-725-5991 or online.