Does Thumb Sucking Lead To Braces?

 

As children grow, they develop and outgrow countless habits, some that are good for them and others that may be detrimental to their health. One such habit is that of thumb-sucking. When children suck on their thumbs, it is often for comfort, and it is not something they are doing to create frustration in you or to harm themselves; children suck their thumbs in order to soothe themselves and to feel better in a situation. But is there a point when thumb-sucking is doing more harm (in terms of their oral health) than good?

There is evidence that thumb-sucking can cause significant oral health problems if it occurs for too long and as children get older. Sucking on your thumb has many effects on your mouth, including buck teeth (the front teeth being pushed out). There are also issues of crossbite or other jaw alignment issues that may arise when a child sucks on their thumb. The most damage is caused to a child’s teeth and jaw at the age when their permanent teeth are growing. At this age, the mouth is more impressionable and the soft tissues are more malleable. Discouraging thumb-sucking behavior may be something to consider if you are worried about the impact that the behavior will have on your child’s teeth in later years. Positive reinforcement (i.e. rewarding them for not sucking on their thumb) is a great tool to discourage the action from continuing.

However, while there is the possibility that your child’s thumb-sucking habits will lead to braces, there are also cases of children who suck their thumbs and do not need braces later in life, even when their siblings do. The best judge of whether your child sucking his/her thumb is setting them up for braces is to consult with his/her dentist, or with an orthodontist. At 360 Orthodontics, we can help you determine the state of your child’s teeth and whether or not any bad habits they have is causing them to be on a path for braces later in life. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.