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How Thumb-Sucking Can Negatively Affect Childrens Oral Health

The act of thumb sucking is a natural reflex for a child and many children start when they are in the womb. Problems only typically arise when thumb sucking becomes prolonged and lasts well beyond infancy. It is then that oral health issues start to become apparent.



According to the British Orthodontic Society, if the thumb sucking habit stops by the age of seven then teeth can often correct themselves with normal growth. However, evidence suggests that one in every eight children between the ages of seven and eleven have a prolonged digit sucking habit. If the habit continues beyond the age of seven, then the position of the adult teeth can be permanently affected, and self - correction is less likely to occur. This makes it all the more important that thumb sucking is stopped in its track at an early age.


As the British Orthodontic Society has shown, if thumb sucking becomes a long-term habit the impact on oral health can be severe and long-term. Problems which can arise include a crossbite, an anterior open bite, misshapen palette and even difficulty with chewing.


And it it is not just the British Orthodontic Society who have acknowledged the impact of thumb sucking on oral health. There is a growing body of evidence from a wide array of sources.


Iranian experts have noted that thumb sucking can lead to significant complications such as speech impairement, irregularities in teeth, malocclusion, intra-oral ulcers.


In the US, the NationalInstitutes of Health has said that anterior open bite and posterior cross bite are the most frequent malocclusions associated with prolonged sucking habits. Thumb sucking can affect the roof of the mouth or how the teeth line up.


Why Good Oral Health Is So Important For Young Children


By instilling good oral health in children from a young age you can set them up with a healthy smile for life. A healthy smile is one of the best gifts an adult can give their child which not will not only save them from painful treatments down the line but could also boost their confidence and self-esteem.