Almost every family or household has had at least one thoroughly dedicated thumb sucker. It is a habit that starts in infanthood and it can carry on for many years afterward. Unfortunately, thumb sucking affects teeth in negative ways, and the team at Kulkarni & Fitz Orthodontics encourages parents to pay a visit and figure out how to overcome the problems.

As your preferred orthodontist in Dayton, OH we understand that “letting” a child suck their thumb may be helpful in maintaining your own sanity. It is a comfort behavior that children learn and if taken from them can leave them quite miserable. However, as your orthodontist, we need you to understand that thumb sucking affects teeth in ways that play out over the long term. Not only does it interfere with baby teeth, but adult teeth, too. Let’s explore the issue…

Teeth and Pressure

If you want to begin to understand how thumb sucking affects teeth, you need only copy your child for a moment. Suck on your thumb, paying attention to the pressure that you feel throughout your mouth. This is something that you notice in seconds. Imagine if the soft tissue of the mouth of a developing child is exposed to such pressures on a fairly constant basis. This will alter the position and angle of the emerging teeth. In fact, it causes the teeth to slant in the direction of the pressure.

This means that it also can alter the bite, with some children developing an underbite (in which the lower teeth stick out too far) or an open bite (in which a gap exists between the upper and lower frontal teeth). The child’s jaw is also affected because it is in a half open position for far too long each day.

This sets the stage for adult teeth to follow the same pattern, and experts say you must curb thumb sucking by age three or four if you don’t want it to do long lasting harm. Of course, you will want to rely on preventative dentistry or general dentistry early on if you are to address some of the problems that the habit has caused. This can include bacterial issues and even sores.

However, as thumb sucking affects teeth in terms of orthodontics, you also want to be sure that your child visits us early on to address any issues caused by the habit.

Schedule your Child a Visit Today if Thumb Sucking Has Affected Their Teeth

Do you think that thumb sucking has affected your child’s teeth? If so, give us a call at our Dayton, OH office at 937-748-0505. You can also use our online contact form and one of our staff will get back to you promptly.