Dennis Morehart, DDS

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Effects of Thumb Sucking

As providers of pediatric dentistry, we at Dr. Dennis Morehart’s Enid office often advise parents on how to care for their children’s oral health. One of the most common questions we get is at what point a child should break the habit of thumb sucking. That depends on how intense the habit is, but it should end by the time they start losing baby teeth at the latest.

Thumb sucking is a common behavior among babies and toddlers and is usually harmless. However, once the child’s permanent teeth start coming in at around the age of five, the skull bones will fuse together and not be able to spring back from the pressure put on them by thumb or pacifier sucking. This can result in misaligned teeth (especially overbites), misaligned jaws, and deformed oral cavities and bone ridges.

If the child is old enough to understand reason, it is best to include them in efforts to change their behavior. This is because thumb sucking is sometimes motivated by anxiety, and often when the psychological issue is not dealt with, children will substitute thumb sucking with pushing their tongues against their front teeth. This can cause many of the same problems.

Dr. Dennis Morehart, Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, operates Enid Dental Care at 2411 Heritage Trail, Ste #4, Enid, Oklahoma, 73703. To schedule an appointment, call 580-237-2213 or visit and fill out a contact sheet.


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