Thumb Sucking and Your Child’s Teeth

suckerWhen you’re looking for an orthodontist or children’s dentist in Omaha, NE, Pedodontics, P.C. is here to fulfill your every need! The health of your child’s smile is our number one concern and we’ll be glad to supply a wide range of pediatric dentistry and early orthodontic treatments to make sure that your child is always smiling brightly. In addition to those great treatments that we offer, we’re also capable of helping to curb any bad oral habits that your child may have as well. One such common oral habit that can have a detrimental effect on your child’s dental health is thumb sucking.

Why a Thumb Sucking Habit Is Bad

As you’re assuredly familiar with, children are always rapidly growing and developing – even when it comes to their mouth and teeth. When a child sucks on his or her thumb (or any other finger), the pressure of the thumb resting against the gums can interfere with the natural jaw growth and tooth eruption. This can then lead to bite issues. The most common bite issue that thumb sucking can lead to is an open bite, where the teeth don’t overlap when a child bites together. Instead, there’s an open space between both the upper and lower teeth. In addition to making it harder to speak, chew, and retain food, it can lead to further dental and orthodontic issues as well, which is why it’s so important to break the thumb sucking habit before it can cause any serious damage.

How to Stop a Thumb Sucking Habit

While thumb sucking is incredibly common for toddlers and those at a very young age, this habit will typically be broken on its own. If your child sucks his or her thumb, it’s not an immediate cause for concern and you shouldn’t try to stop it right away. However, if your child continues this habit past the age of four or five, it’s important to help break this habit before it can cause some serious dental harm. Some of the methods that we suggest using to break the thumb sucking habit include the following:

  • Talk with Your Child – Sometimes the best thing to do is to just be open and honest with your child. Explain why thumb sucking is bad and how harmful it can be. Communication is key.
  • Praise and Reward – Give your child a reward in exchange for not sucking on his or her thumb. This can be anything they enjoy, from toys to food. Also, focus on praising and being positive instead of scolding your child when he or she engages in the thumb sucking habit.
  • Comfort and Distract – Thumb sucking is a hand-to-mouth habit so an effective way of keeping them from doing it is to keep their hands occupied with games or activities. Also, if you notice that your child is more likely to thumb suck during a certain time, place, or scenario, try to avoid it.
  • Visit Your Orthodontist in Omaha, NE – If you’ve tried our other suggestions and your child still sucks his or her thumb, we recommend visiting us at Pedodontics, P.C. We’ll be able to help your child understand how necessary it is to kick this harmful habit. If needed, we can even use a special oral appliance, known as a tongue crib, that’s designed to break the thumb sucking habit in just a few short months.

Schedule a Visit with Your Orthodontist and Children’s Dentist in Omaha, NE!

 If you have any other questions about breaking a thumb sucking habit, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. If you’re looking to schedule an appointment with your children’s dentist and orthodontist in Omaha, NE, we encourage you to give us a call at (402) 330-5913. We can’t wait to see you!

Pedodontics PC

  • Pedodontics PC - 2521 S. 119th St., Omaha, NE 68144 Phone: 402-330-5913

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