Thumb-sucking is commonly seen in babies and young kids. It often starts when the babies are inside their mother's womb. How can we say that? We can because it has been seen in the ultrasound imaging that parents do before their child's birth. The good part about thumb-sucking is that it calms the baby in several cases and also helps them in falling asleep. But is thumb-sucking good and can it be continued for a long time? The answer is No!
Thumb-sucking has several side effects that may remain for a lifetime. Let's take a look at why thumb-sucking isn't a good habit and should be stopped as soon as possible.
Types of Malocclusions
The most serious consequence of continuous thumb-sucking during the early years is the different types of malocclusions. Malocclusions are permanent tooth alignment issues that are even visible when the mouth is closed. The two types of malocclusions are - overbite and open bite. In overbite, the top teeth are directed outwards and they overlap the lower teeth when one's mouth is closed. In open bite, both the upper as well as the lower teeth are outward protruding and do not touch normally even when one's mouth is closed.
Malocclusions affect the shape of the face and mouth area. These can be only corrected with the help of braces or severe teeth alignment procedures.
Thumb-sucking can also affect the development of the teeth, tongue, and jaws. It can change the normal jaw movement while eating and speaking. This change in the tooth structure and misalignment can cause lisping and other speech impediments, including an inability to pronounce hard consonants like "D" and "T." The tooth misalignment causes these speech impediments and hence, they cannot be corrected without straightening the teeth.
Embarrassing Social Moments
If your child sucks his or her thumb in public, not only kids but also adults may point out this habit and gossip about it. Other kids may even tease your child for this habit. This can bring down your child’s self-confidence.
Intense thumb-sucking can lead to wounds, sores, and even infections on your child’s thumb. Not only this, thumb-sucking also spreads germs and causes other illnesses in your child and people around them.
The best time to discourage and stop your child from thumb-sucking is at the age of four. After this, the habit could affect the normal growth and result in the above-mentioned consequences. If you are finding it difficult to deal with your child's thumb-sucking, bring them to us. We provide various Edmonton dentists emergency services that can help safeguard your child’s dental health.