Thumb-sucking and Pacifiers for children-Yay or nay?

Most children develop thumb or finger sucking habits during early childhood as a means to soothe themselves. The jury is still out on whether it’s learned behavior or comes to them naturally, but it does make them feel more secure. It also helps them connect with and learn about the environment they are in.

However, after a certain age, when permanent teeth come in, excessive and vigorous sucking on the thumb, finger or a pacifier, can impact the alignment of teeth. The shape of the jaw as well as the roof of the mouth can be impacted as well. Moreover, the more prolonged the habit is, the more difficult it becomes to break it.

The following are a few of the negative impacts of this habit.


Overbite is a condition of the upper front teeth in particular, which forces the teeth to jut outwards. Instead of the top and bottom teeth making contact when the mouth is closed, the teeth become misaligned and cause the top teeth to cover the bottom ones. This impacts how the face shape and smile may appear. Children with this condition need orthodontic intervention to fix overlapping teeth.

Open Bite

Medically known as an anterior open bite, children who develop this condition have top and bottom teeth that slant outward. Hence, they don’t make contact when the mouth is shut. Excessive tongue thrusting while children suck on their thumbs can cause the misalignment of teeth and gaps as well.

Speech Problems

The impact on the orthodontic development of the child has significant affects on the way the child talks or consumes food. Your child may develop a lisp or any other speech impediments which makes it difficult for them to pronounce certain sounds.

How to help your child stop sucking their thumb

The following ways are known to help children slowly disengage with the thumb sucking process.

  • Find out if your child sucks their thumb to seek comfort and when they are feeling insecure. Helping children cope with the anxiety can provide them other means of coping with their mental health.
  • Offer rewards and praise to your child whenever they opt not to suck their thumb. You will have to assist the process of unlearning this behavior for your child.
  • Ask your dentist to intervene and educate your child about dental care and misaligned teeth.

At Dr. King’s Family Dentistry, we provide expert and friendly dental care services in Virginia Beach. To seek treatment from one of the best orthodontists for kids and adults, head over to our clinic. We provide services to most of the people in the community. Make your appointment today.

King Dental