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How can thumb sucking affect my child’s teeth?

Our dentists in Parramatta know that a lot of parents are concerned about their child sucking their thumb, or using a dummy, especially as they grow older and continue with the habit. Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children. When a child sucks on their thumb, other fingers, a dummy, blanket or favourite toy it helps them to feel secure as they explore and learn about the world around them.

Young children also suck a thumb or dummy as they fall asleep, this is to help soothe and comfort them as they drift off to sleep.

Can thumb sucking affect your child’s teeth?

Sucking thumbs and dummies etc while your child still has his or her baby teeth isn’t usually a problem, however once permanent teeth have come in sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the child’s mouth and the alignment of their teeth. Prolonged sucking can also cause changes to occur in the roof of the mouth.

Sucking on a dummy can also affect children’s’ teeth, just the same way as sucking on fingers or thumbs, but, it is a habit that is a lot easier to break. It is not only just the sucking action, it is the intensity of the sucking that determines if any dental problems will occur.

If children simply rest their thumb or fingers in their mouth and suck gently, they are less likely to cause damage than those who vigorously suck on their thumbs or dummies.

Children who are very aggressive thumb and dummy suckers may even develop problems with their baby teeth. If you have any concerns, speak to your dentist in Parramatta.

Between the ages of 2 and 4 children usually stop sucking on their own, while some may continue the habit until their permanent front teeth start to erupt. If you have noticed any changes with your child’s baby teeth, or you are just concerned about your child’s thumbsucking speak to your dentist in Parramatta Dental Avenue and we’ll offer you advice that suites your child’s needs.

How can I stop my child from sucking their thumb?

  • Children often suck their thumbs when they need comfort or are feeling insecure. Provide comfort for your child and focus on correcting the reasons for their anxiety.
  • Praise your child for not sucking.
  • For an older child, involve him or her in choosing a way to stop sucking.
  • Your dentist will be able to offer encouragement for your child, and will be able to explain to them what will happen to their teeth if they don’t stop sucking.

If this doesn’t work, there may be other appliances that can be used to eliminate the habit. To inquire about these appliances or for any questions regarding your child’s oral health don’t hesitate to speak to your dentist at Parramatta Dental Avenue! Call us on 800 400 55 and our friendly team will be happy to assist you!

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