Four Possible Harmful Effects of Thumb Sucking – What to Know

If you have a baby or a growing toddler, they just might have developed the habit of sucking his or her thumb. Non nutritive sucking a natural oral response in babies and toddlers when they’re trying to self settle or soothe.

Its important that children are encouraged to stop this habit as they get older and here are four possible harmful effects of thumb sucking that parents should be wary of:

Open Bite and Overjet

Dental malocclusion is one serious permanent side effect of thumb sucking.

There are two types of malocclusion that may be caused by a sucking habit are called open bite and overjet. An open bite is when an individual’s top and bottom rows of teeth do not touch each other. An overjet, on the other hand, is when an individual’s top row of teeth protrudes further out than their bottom row.

Both of these two conditions often require orthodontic correction.

Speech Articulation and Eating

Another issue to be wary of that results from thumb sucking is speech articulation problems. The action of thumb sucking beyond a certain age can result in impaired development of a child’s teeth, jaws, as well as the mobility of the tongue and lips. This, in turn, may impact on how your child eats and speaks.

Given this problem, your child might need to resort to speech therapy to improve his or her overall speech.

Skin Problems

Oral issues aren’t the only concern when it comes to thumb sucking. Skin problems are another possible harmful effect. Children who suck their thumbs as they grow into full-fledged toddlers may develop skin problems on their preferred thumbs. This is because the moisture of their mouths makes their thumbs crack or bleed, making the skin vulnerable to infections. Their fingers may even become calloused or peeled over time.

For all the above reasons (and more), as soon as your child becomes a toddler, you, as a parent, should begin to try to break your child’s habit of thumb sucking.

And if you need us, we’re here – get in touch today to see how we can help!

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