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Does Thumb Sucking Mean Braces?

Young Childing Being Shown a Dental Model Johns Creek GA

To help establish proper feeding, babies are born with a natural sucking reflex. However, this behavior often dissipates after about 4 months and becomes a soothing mechanism for many babies. The pacifier is often introduced to satisfy the sucking reflex and help a baby soothe or fall asleep. Some babies, however, “find their thumb” as a more accessible and convenient option for sucking. While this is a cute, harmless and even welcomed habit in babies, thumb sucking can become a concern for many parents if their child doesn’t drop the habit after toddlerhood.

Age Matters

If you have a child who sucks his or her thumb to self-soothe, you may be asking “will my child need braces?” When it comes to the impact that thumb sucking can have on your child’s bite alignment and speech, it largely depends on the age of your child. If your child is still a regular thumb-sucker by age 5 or when they enter Kindergarten, you may have reason to worry. Adult teeth typically start erupting between ages 5 and 7, which means thumb sucking could push out the front permanent teeth and disrupt your child’s alignment.

Consequences of Prolonged Thumb Sucking

“Buck teeth” aren’t the only concern for a school-aged child who sucks his or her thumb. Whether they are relying on the habit to self-soothe in scary situations or they subconsciously suck their thumb during nighttime sleep, this oral habit can cause the following consequences:

  • Overbite or underbite development
  • A lisp or other speech difficulties
  • Jaw positioning problems
  • Sensitive or altered roof of the mouth
  • Susceptibility to sickness due to germs

While there are products and devices that can help children stop thumb sucking, it can also be helpful to investigate the reason they participate in this “infant habit” as an older child. Many parents find that thumb sucking is an emotional response and helping your child find another way to feel safe and secure can help break the habit.

If you are concerned about your child’s teeth for any reason, please let us know at Muccioli Dental. We like to take a proactive approach to keeping young smiles healthy and attractive. Call our trusted family dentist today to learn what to expect if your child has a potentially harmful oral habit.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Randy Muccioli, Muccioli Dental

Muccioli Dental - Johns Creek Dentist
6300 Hospital Pkwy, Suite 275
Johns Creek, Georgia 30097
Phone: (678) 389-9955

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Please contact our Office at Muccioli Dental today and let our family serve your family with a lifetime of quality dental care. Our practice is currently accepting new patients and we accept most dental insurances as well as a variety of other payment methods. We look forward to serving you with top quality, personalized dental care in our brand new state-of-the-art dental office located in the Johns Creek Medical Pavilion. We look forward to meeting you!

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    6300 Hospital Pkwy, Suite 275
    Johns Creek, Georgia 30097

    Book an Appointment (678) 389-9955