Thumb sucking is a very natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects can often make babies feel happy and secure, and often helps them fall asleep. When permanent teeth come in, sucking can cause problems with the alignment of the teeth and the growth of the mouth. Pacifiers can affect the teeth in the same ways that sucking on fingers do, but they are often an easier habit for children to break.
Intensity is the determining factor of whether or not sucking will cause dental problems. If children passively rest their thumb or pacifier in their mouth, problems are much less likely to arise when compared to children who vigorously suck on their thumbs. Overly aggressive sucking can not only cause problems with permanent teeth, but even primary (baby) teeth.
Children usually stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four, or by the time their permanent teeth begin to come in. If your child does not stop sucking their thumbs, you should try to praise the child for not sucking. Sucking is often associated with when a child feels insecure, so it’s recommended to try to eliminate any anxiety by providing comfort to your child.
If you notice a change in child's teeth, or are concerned about their sucking habits, you should consult your dentist. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us here at the Rideau Dental Centre by calling 613-230-7475.