What To Know About Tooth Development And Thumb Sucking

Do you have a child who sucks their thumb? This is a habit that some children outgrow, and it initially is not a concern for most parents. It can even be downright cute to see a baby sucking their thumb. However, as a child gets older, some parents may develop fears about whether it is will be a habit that is hard to break. This may raise concerns about their children's long-term oral health. A common concern revolves around whether tooth development will be impacted and whether the thumbsucking will lead to potentially expensive interventions such as orthodontic treatments. The following points will help you understand the factors that could affect whether or not your child's thumb sucking will affect the appearance of their teeth.


Parents of newborns should not panic about seeing their babies sucking their thumbs. Sometimes babies who prefer their thumbs over pacifiers will naturally wean themselves from sucking their thumbs at the same age-appropriate milestones that their peers stop relying on pacifiers for comfort. However, it is possible for some toddlers and even children who are nearing the age of starting school to continue to suck their thumbs. 

It is important to keep a dentist involved when thumb sucking continues beyond infancy. This is because speech and jaw bone development may be negatively impacted. Early intervention may also be more effective than measures taken later in life. 

Method and Type

Individuals who suck their thumbs have several things that may make their habit appealing. Some may favor one thumb over the other. There might also be patterns such as not actively sucking a thumb but merely placing it in the mouth. This is a formed habit, but it may not cause the same oral changes that active sucking can cause. This is because active thumb sucking involves using force that pushes thumbs against teeth and gums. 


Doing any activity frequently will likely lead to some signs that something is going on. This can also be seen in thumb suckers. If an individual only sucks their thumbs every now and then or at certain times of day, the potential damage may not be as noticeable. For example, some individuals may only suck their thumbs when they are stressed or during sleep. This pattern differs greatly from individuals who suck their thumb every day and multiple times throughout the day. 

A family dentist is a good resource to use for help understanding dental issues that can impact family members of differing ages. Using a family dentist is helpful because they may be able to identify familial similarities between family members. For example, a parent may have had issues earlier in life with thumb sucking. Some adults continue to suck their thumbs later in life if interventions are ineffective or never attempted. There might also be a sibling connection that dentists notice. 

About Me

FAQs About Pregnancy and Dental Health

During pregnancy, expectant mothers have to deal with a host of changes to their bodies. I was surprised to learn that part of those changes is to your dental health. I was not aware that hormonal changes could mean an increased risk of gum infection and other dental problems. Luckily for me, my dentist was prepared to handle any problems that I experienced during my pregnancy. I created this blog to help other expectant mothers understand the changes that their dental health could experience throughout their pregnancies and the possible ramifications those changes could have on their pregnancies and the health of their unborn children.



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