Will Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?

Thumb Sucking Affect My Child's Teeth


Children find all sorts of ways to soothe themselves when problems or stress arises. They may suck their pacifier or even on their thumb. This is a natural healthy way for them to get comfort and feel better. When you’re a parent you can hear all sorts of advice on thumb sucking and how it can ruin your children’s teeth if they do that. While there are many people out there giving advice, here’s some from the ADA about thumb sucking and what you should know.

Early Age

When children suck their thumbs at an early age it is not typically a problem. They generally stop sucking by the time they are between the ages of two and four years old. This is when their baby teeth are in. It is very natural and okay for them to suck their thumb to fall asleep or comfort themselves. If the sucking does not stop by the age of five or so, that can cause a problem.

Permanent Teeth

When your child starts to get their permanent teeth coming in, the thumb sucking can cause issues with them. This can cause their bite to be misaligned or teeth to come in improperly. It can also cause the roof of their mouth to change as well. It is important that you try to stop the child from sucking their thumbs the older they get.

Tips to Remember

Remember that thumb sucking is a mode of comfort for your child. It is a way they can soothe themselves if they are in distress or tired. Offer them other ways to soothe themselves. Praise them when they do not suck their thumb and try to treat the cause of the stress or anxiety rather than scold them for sucking on their thumb. It is a process and will need to be removed as a process.

Your child can suck their thumb without causing damage if it is stopped before the permanent teeth come in. Let them soothe while they are young and start weaning them away as they grow older.