Thumb-sucking is fairly normal in many young children, and it’s something we often see at Bay Area Kids Dentist.
Most kids outgrow it, but it takes longer for some. Prolonged thumb sucking can cause future dental problems.
- Open Bite. An open bite happens when the front teeth in the lower and upper jaw are moved forward. Sometimes these teeth don’t meet when the mouth is closed.
- Tongue thrusting. This refers to an abnormal swallowing practice. The tongue is pushed forward during swallowing. Normally, the tongue is on the roof of the mouth and the teeth closed entirely when swallowing.
The American Dental Association says that parents should discourage thumb sucking by age four. If it goes beyond that, it could begin to affect development of the jaw and teeth.
If kids keep sucking their thumbs into kindergarten, it’s time to find a strategy that will get them to quit. Experts say a rewards system and positive reinforcement are the best ways to go about it.
If thumb sucking is a problem for your child, please talk to us about it at Bay Area Kids Dentist. We can start addressing the issue during a regularly-scheduled cleaning and checkup. We specialize in pediatric dentistry, and have offices in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Morgan Hill. Please call us to schedule an appointment today!
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