The Common Dental Problems Associated With Thumb Sucking


Thumb sucking a natural behavior that an infant exhibits. This provides the feeling of security, pleasure, and warmth. It is observed that thumb sucking stops when the child reaches the age of 5, but many continue to do so even when they cross this age. This can be the cause of many dental problems. If this happens then you should get help from pediatric dental services.

Dental Issues of Thumb Sucking:

When your child continues sucking the thumb even after the age of five, it can result in many dental problems. The child can have trouble in swallowing or may develop speech impairment issues. The child can be ridiculed in front of everyone, or by his/ her peers. This may result in the development of introvert behavior. The dental issues that a child may experience are discussed below.

Anterior/ Open bite:

An open bite is a term used when the upper and lower front teeth are unable to touch each other. If your child sucks the thumb or the structure of the head and jaw is not in place, it will result in an open bite.

When studying open bite, you need to know about the other three types. These include:

  1. In Simple OB, the canine teeth do not meet and leave a gap.
  2. When premolars do not align, this refers to Compound OB.
  3. The molars don’t overlap when you close your mouth.

The parents should closely observe the child and monitor the signs. It is important to note the age your child is coming to. If he/ she crosses the age of 5, you must be vigilant and start taking precautions. This habit goes automatically but if it is there then you can, with love help the child to get rid of the habit.

Dentists recommend many techniques of over-coming Anterior Open bite. Some appliances are very effective in treating this dental problem, including:

  1. High-pull-headgear
  2. Bite block
  3. Mini anchors
  4. Vertical chin-up
  5. Open bite surgery
  6. Roller appliance

Anterior/ Excessive Overbite:

When the upper teeth are projected outward and cover the lower set of teeth. All people have a little overbite but if this condition develops and becomes worse, then you should be concerned. The overbite can be caused by using a pacifier or prolonged bottle feeding and sometimes it is heredity.

At many occasions, parents do not think of getting a treatment for their child but they should know the consequences of not treating an overbite.

  1. The damage to the gums can lead to tooth loss and other gum diseases.
  2. It can develop difficulty in speaking and chewing food.
  3. Severe pain in the jaw can result in headaches and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).
  4. Overbite can obstruct the esophagus; the windpipe can contribute to disturbance while sleeping.

If you want your child to get treatment for the overbite then you should go to a dentist, preferably an orthodontist; one of them is Pediatric Dentist Tulsa. In most cases, the treatment options that experts recommend includes:

  1. Removing the baby teeth
  2. Using a growth modification device
  3. Braces
  4. Retainers

Posterior/ Cross bite:

It is a condition that occurs when one tooth or teeth don’t align with the corresponding one and is close to either the tongue or cheeks. Other than thumb sucking, it can be caused by;

  1. Mouth breathing
  2. Delayed tooth eruption
  3. Heredity

It is really important for your child’s health that cross bite is cured. Orthodontists apply different methods to fix this problem;

  1. Palatal expander for upper palate widening
  2. Braces
  3. Surgical procedures
  4. Expander that can be removed

Treating the Problem:

Have you ever thought of the consequences ignoring dental problems will have on your child? Although it seems to be trivial and parents do not bother about it, but the mouth is closely related to the rest of the body, as you eat from your mouth. If your mouth is not in a healthy condition, it will have negative effects. You should make sure to treat the problems to avoid the diseases that may develop later as your child grows:

  1. Dementia
  2. Cardiovascular disease
  3. Diabetic complications
  4. Respiratory infections 

How to Prevent Thumb Sucking?

If your child is constantly sucking his or her thumb and you want him or her to leave the habit then you need to follow some rules.

  1. Keep regular checks on your child and monitor the duration of the process.
  2. Praise him/ her for doing good deeds and compare it with thumb sucking as a bad habit.
  3. Keep the children busy in different activities to distract the mind from thumb sucking.
  4. You can also cover the thumb with cloth or other materials.
  5. When a child will realize that he/ she is grown up then the willingness will develop to abandon the habit.
  6. Children suck their thumb to seek attention; not giving them attention will gradually make it go away, although it sounds very strange.

Thumb sucking can easily be prevented if you know the causes, effects, treatments and the prevention of it.