The Consequences of Long-term Thumb-sucking

The dental implications of thumb-suckingIf there is an image that perfectly illustrates a comfortable child, it is that of a sleepy baby sucking on their thumb. This habit is a form of therapy that helps them relax. While you might be tempted to let the practice continue, thumb-sucking can be harmful to their oral health. Here are some of the consequences of thumb-sucking in children:

Dental Malocclusion

Your child’s mouth stays half-open when they are sucking on their thumb. While this might not appear to be a problem, keeping the mouth half-open for a long time overworks the tendons. This will cause your kid’s jaw to shift from their proper position. When the jaw becomes accustomed to its new position, your kid will have a permanent overbite or underbite.

Slanted Teeth and Open Bite

Your child’s jaws are typically very soft and flexible. When sucking on their thumbs or fingers, kids apply constant pressure on their gums, which quickly leads to the deformation of the soft bone comprising the frontal section of the upper and lower jaws. Such deformation can adversely affect your kid’s dental structure. In particular, it can cause an open bite, where the upper frontal teeth refuse to meet those of the lower jaw. Also, your child’s teeth can become slanted, which can lead to permanent aesthetic problems.

While dentists at Salt Lake Pediatric Dentist can mitigate these problems, they might cause discomfort while fixing the problem. Moreover, some dental clinics can cost you a small fortune.

Speech Impediment

Thumb-sucking is also responsible for altering the original formation of the roof of the mouth. As your child grows, the palate begins responding to the pressure applied by the thumb, which might trigger the development of a narrow groove. Because of these alterations, your child will find it difficult to pronounce constant sounds, like T and D.

Thumb-sucking is a subconscious habit among kids. To prevent health problems, children require a lot of support from their parents or guardians. This will help them overcome the habit before their adult teeth begin to develop. If the practice persists, your child might experience speech problems and dental issues, like malocclusion and slanted teeth.