Will thumb sucking damage your child’s teeth?

Little asian girl sucking thumb on sofa. Does your child suck his or her thumb? Over time, you may start to wonder if it is a healthy habit or if it may end up hurting how their teeth develop. Should you put a stop to their thumb sucking? Read on for some more information about your child’s habit of thumb sucking and how it can affect their oral health.

Is it OK for my child to suck her thumb?

As we have seen from some very cute ultrasounds, even fetuses suck their thumbs. You may notice that babies and toddlers suck their thumbs to help calm themselves when they are upset or anxious.  However, this is when the teeth are starting to come in, and thumb sucking can cause damage. It can cause the permanent teeth to become misaligned, as the constant pressure of the thumb causes the front teeth to grow in jutting forward. Eventually, misaligned teeth can cause jaw problems and pain.

How do you get your child to stop?

In an ideal world, your child will stop sucking his thumb on his own, without any effort on your part. They may notice that the children they are around don’t suck their thumbs, and they may start to feel self-conscious about it. However, as you know, things aren’t always that easy with children.

There are several different techniques to try to get your child to stop sucking their thumb. You could set up rules, such as thumb sucking is only allowed at bedtime, in order to phase out the habit. Children do well with reward systems – you could give a sticker on a chart for each day they don’t suck their thumb, with a bigger reward after a whole week of no thumb sucking. You can even get a thumb guard that will physically prevent your child from thumb sucking.

It is cute when babies and toddlers suck their thumbs. However, it can be a harmful habit as their teeth start to come in – a habit that is very difficult to break. If you are concerned about your child’s teeth, make an appointment at Soft Touch Dentistry. Contact the Brighton office at (617) 782-9250 or the Newton office at (617) 332-8146 today.

Get in Touch

We would love to discuss your options with you! Kindly complete the form provided below, and one of our team members will reach out to you promptly. Please note that this form is intended for new patient inquiries. If you are an established patient, please contact our office directly for any questions or changes regarding appointments. Thank You!

* All indicated fields must be completed.
Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.

Office Hours

M-Th: 8:00am - 6:00pm
F: 8:00am - 2:00pm
Sat: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Open only one Saturday a month
Sun: Closed

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top