Parents need not be concerned about how much their children suck their thumbs. This is a natural behavior. However, if a child continues to do it well after it’s appropriate for their age, that can be bad. Thumb sucking can have long-term dental ramifications.
Why Children Suck Their Thumbs
Babies suck their thumbs because it releases endorphins. The released neurotransmitters help children relax, much the same way holding a stuffed animal or blanket makes them feel safe. Aside from their thumbs, they may also suck other fingers, a pacifier, or a sippy cup.
The Problem with Prolonged Thumb Sucking
Unfortunately, too much thumb sucking can have long-term consequences. Children may develop thumb callouses or a speech impediment. From a dental standpoint, our endodontists warn that it may lead to abnormal teeth alignment and premature teeth eruption. It may also lead to palatal narrowing. This occurs when the roof of the mouth does not develop to full size. Other issues include an open bite and malocclusion. Continue Reading →