Thumb sucking is an automatic and natural infant soothing behavior that often continues into toddler years. While many children grow out of sucking their thumb on their own, some have a more difficult time stopping. There are a few reasons why a child may have trouble growing out of thumb sucking. One being it may reduce their anxiety, or they were never encouraged to stop by an adult. However, there are a few negative effects of thumb sucking that pediatric dental specialists  want parents to be aware of when it comes to dental health.

The Negative Effects of Thumb Sucking

Misaligned Teeth

Any children’s dentist will tell you that the first negative effect of thumb sucking is that it can easily misalign teeth. For instance, it may cause an overbite, which is where the front teeth protrude out. Another problem that may occur includes overbite issues, where the bottom teeth slant inward. Luckily, these problems can be fixed with braces from a pediatric dentist later on. However, it will cost more and require the braces to stay on longer.

Speech Problems

Thumb sucking or using a pacifier for too long can also affect speech development. According to the best pediatric dentist in Liberty, MO, speech problems are likely due to the open or overbite that develops from thumb sucking. Additionally, thumb sucking also causes the tongue to push forward through the teeth, resulting in a lisp or difficulty pronouncing certain letters.

Mouth Issues

Along with misaligned teeth and speech development problems, thumb sucking can also cause some serious mouth issues. This includes misalignment with the jaw, mouth and face muscles, and overall face structure. Constantly having a thumb or pacifier in a child’s mouth can also cause an indenture to the roof of the mouth and become concave, resulting in it becoming very sensitive to touch.

Contact The Best Pediatric Dentist in Liberty, MO

Unfortunately, excessive thumb sucking can negatively affect a child’s dental health and mouth development in many ways. The earlier you can get your child to stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier, the better. However, as a Liberty, MO pediatric dentist specialist, we have the right treatments to fix your child’s teeth and mouth if they experience any problems because of excessive thumb sucking. Contact our pediatric dentist office for an appointment at (816) 781-5437.