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Thumb-sucking in children

Children generally suck their thumbs to create a feeling of comfort and safety. However, prolonged thumb-sucking or the extended use of a pacifier or nursing bottle has many consequences on a child’s dental development.

When children put a finger or object in their mouth and close their lips around it, their palate, teeth and lips will take on the shape of these objects, thus pushing the incisors forward and preventing them from closing their lips properly. Because the jaw bones of children under 8 are malleable, sucking a thumb or an object can deform the jaw bones and cause teeth to grow in crooked. Over the long term, thumb-sucking can also affect the growth of the palate, causing elocution, chewing and swallowing problems.

Most children naturally stop sucking their thumbs well before they start school. Thumb-sucking is not dangerous, except when it is still done when the permanent teeth begin to grow, generally at 4 or 5 years of age.

If you need help regarding thumb-sucking in children, do not hesitate to discuss it with a Lapointe Dental Centres professional. He or she can give you tips to help your child kick this habit.

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Thumb sucking, a bad habit (kids’ edition) – Lapointe dental centres – YouTube