Thumb sucking; What are the implications?

thumb sucking

Thumb sucking; What are the implications?

Thumb sucking; What are the implications?

Thumb sucking is a habit that can be easily identified in babies and newborns. In the first months of life, it may seem a harmless and even reassuring gesture, but it can turn into a bad gesture.

Why do children suck their thumbs?

One of the main reasons why children suck their thumb is due to the perioral reflex, it is an involuntary movement that instinctively seeks to suck on the mother’s breast.

As time passes, it is possible that the child associates this habit with security and / or calm. Therefore, it is normal to see children older than 1 or 2 years sucking their thumb when they are nervous or at bedtime.

In addition, there are children who begin to put one or more fingers in their mouth around 6-8 months when the first baby teeth begin to erupt (primary dentition). During this stage the child tries to calm the discomfort generated by the new teeth by generating pressure on the gum with the fingers.

When do children stop thumb sucking?

Children usually stop thumb sucking on their own after one year of life. There are others who, on the contrary, continue to suck it even beyond 3 years. Sometimes when children are removed from their pacifier at two years of age, they substitute the pacifier for their finger.

Why can thumb sucking be a problem?

Thumb sucking can affect not only teeth, both permanent and deciduous, but also bone structures. Thumb sucking can cause malocclusion (bite) problems. At these ages the bones of the maxilla and mandible are still moldable and this excessive suction generates malformations.

What are the main complications of thumb sucking?

Ogival palate: it is a narrow palate, the maxilla is too narrow and causes problems to accommodate all the teeth of the arch. This will lead to crowding of the teeth and even gum problems (causing receding gums in the future).

Open bite: this malocclusion occurs when the upper front teeth (incisors and canines) do not cover the lower ones. This causes us to close our mouths completely and have difficulties eating, breathing and aesthetic problems.

Crossbite: The crossbite is also a malocclusion that is seen when the upper teeth occlude inside the lower ones. Typically, the upper teeth partially cover the lower teeth.

Tips to stop thumb sucking:

Use positive reinforcement: in fighting, praising behavior when things are done well

Distraction: with games or activities to attract your attention and forget your finger

Respect sleep: put the child to sleep early, before he needs to suck his thumb to fall asleep.

Substances that generate rejection: in extreme cases, substances that are sold in pharmacies that generate a bad taste when putting the finger in the mouth can be used.

The most important thing is an early detection by the pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist will help you make the best decisions to solve these types of problems and will guide you through the process. In the BLASI Clínica Dental Barcelona team we have a specialist in pediatric dentistry who will solve all your doubts.

Ramon Perez mié, 10 abr, 15:45 (hace 6 días) para mí