Advantage Dentistry has been a resource for many families over the years, including those who have just had their first child. Often, parents are aware that there are potential dangers associated with pacifiers and thumb sucking but aren’t sure whether or not there’s a problem, so we wanted to offer some guidance.
Thumb sucking is normal and not a cause for worry in children under the age of three. However, if the child keeps doing it after beginning to lose their baby teeth, the habit could result in misaligned adult teeth, overbites, misaligned jaws, and changes in mouth structure. This is also true of sucking pacifiers and of thrusting the tongue against the front teeth, which is sometimes a habit children form to replace thumb sucking.
If possible, parents should explain to their child why thumb sucking is a bad habit and include them in efforts to get them to stop. Sometimes there is a deeper psychological issue behind it, such as anxiety, which may require the attention of a counselor. But anxious parents should rest assured that if a child stops thumb sucking as a toddler, their jaws can usually shift back to the right position.