It’s completely normal for babies to suck their thumb as a part of a comfortable routine. Some babies discover their thumb in the first few months of life, while others can be seen thumb sucking in sonograms. Every child is different, but most will thumb suck to:
- Fall asleep and feel secure
- Comfort and calm themselves
- Feel better when they are sick or bored
- Adjust to changes, such as a new school or a move
Thumb sucking in infancy is not only considered common but how long should it go on?
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The Consequences of Long-Term Thumb Sucking
It’s one thing to take away a pacifier. Kids may fight and scream, but once it’s gone they cope and move on. How do you take away a thumb?
Many parents mistakenly believe that as long as their child stops by the time permanent teeth arrive, that there won’t be any problems.
However, thumb sucking has an impact on your child’s dental health as young as age 2. Because children’s jaws are soft and flexible, prolonged thumb sucking can hinder the development of permanent teeth, as well as the cause:
- Flared upper teeth (buck teeth)
- Open bite and/or crossbite
- Chewing difficulty
- Tongue thrust could result in a lisp
- Changes in the jawbone shape
- Changes in facial appearance
Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit
The intensity of thumb sucking plays a large role in the damage inflicted by the habit. Kids who simply rest their thumbs in their mouths are less likely to suffer from dental problems than children who have a more aggressive habit.