Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Thumb Sucking Affects Teeth

We care for entire families at Dr. Dipika Shah’s Holmdel office, including those who have just had their first child. Many parents probably know that thumb sucking isn’t a desirable trait in children as they get older, but may not be aware of the consequences or when they should be concerned, so we made that the topic of this week’s post.

Babies and toddlers normally suck their thumbs (or pacifiers) as a way of soothing anxiety, but they also usually stop in between the ages of two and four. If they stop at this age, they will probably not experience any problems, but if they continue sucking after they begin losing their baby teeth, they may suffer from malocclusions such as overbites, misaligned jaws, and misshapen mouth cavities which could inhibit speech and eating. Some children stop thumb sucking only to develop a habit of pushing their tongues against their front teeth, which causes similar problems.

When breaking children of their bad habits, it is best to try to make them understand the reason their habit is harmful and include them in plans and rewards for how to stop. But when thumb sucking is a response to deep-seated anxiety, it may be necessary to seek help from a counselor and dentist. 

Dr. Dipika Shah, Master in the Academy of General Dentistry, operates at 723 N Beers St, Suite 2F, Holmdel, New Jersey, 07733-1512. To schedule an appointment, call 732-264-8180 or visit and fill out a contact form.


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