Does your child suck their thumb? This is completely normal and even healthy for your young one. Most children give up their thumb sucking habit on their own when they’re around 4 to 5 years old. However, thumb sucking can become a problem if your child continues to suck when their adult teeth start coming in. Keep reading to learn what issues prolonged thumb sucking can cause as well as some treatment options for this habit from a pediatric dentist in Hillsboro.
Is Thumb Sucking Bad?
Many children suck their thumb and that’s completely normal and even healthy. Thumb sucking makes them feel secure, which is why it can sometimes turn into a habit. If your child hasn’t grown out of their sucking habit by the age of 5 or when their adult teeth start coming in, they may be more likely to have dental issues like bite problems. Check out some of the issues thumb sucking can cause below:
- It can cause your child’s top front teeth to slant out and the bottom front teeth to tilt in.
- It can also cause your loved one’s upper and lower jaws to be misaligned.
- The roof of the mouth of your child can narrow.
- Your child may need braces.
If you can, try to get your son or daughter to stop sucking their thumb naturally before any of these issues occur.
What Are the Treatment Options for My Child?
If your loved ones continue their sucking habit with their adult teeth, you’ll want to seek treatment to help them avoid some of the issues we’ve listed above. There are things you can do as a parent to coach them away from sucking their thumb. You can give them rewards like their favorite snack or game, cuddle with them, or take them on a special outing.
Be aware of situations like watching TV or long car rides where your son or daughter may want to suck their thumb. If they’re not sucking, reinforce their good behavior with incentives. But, if they are sucking, you can think of other things that sooth your child other than their thumb.
If none of your tactics and tricks work, your dentist for kids in Hillsboro can help! He or she can construct a device that goes in your child’s mouth to keep them from sucking their thumb. These appliances go by different names and they come in fixed and removable variations.
Talk to your dentist about your child’s thumb sucking problem and see what device they would recommend to curb their sucking habit. Even though your children look cute while sucking their thumb, preventing it will help them for the rest of their lives!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Michael Royse is a board-certified pediatric dentist who loves caring for and helping children. He has received numerous awards for his excellence in children’s dentistry including clinical and academic recognition from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. He currently practices at The Dentists at Orenco for Kids where he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (503) 640-6565.