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Posts Tagged ‘thumb sucking’

The Dental Problems Caused By Your Child’s Thumb-Sucking

Monday, July 28th, 2014

398467_blogMany babies suck their thumbs, often as a means of comfort when they are tired or feeling poorly or sleepy. In the early stages, babies can take a lot of reassurance from sucking their thumb, but prolonged thumb-sucking and using bottles and dummies can have serious implications for oral health and the development of the teeth. As dentists, we advise parents to try and discourage thumb-sucking as a baby grows and to try and encourage them to use a cup, rather than a bottle once they reach the age of 12 months old.

What harm does thumb-sucking do?

Thumb sucking can have a negative impact on the development and alignment of the teeth and the front teeth can be particularly badly affected. Children who suck their thumbs are more likely to have misaligned teeth and protruding front teeth, as the action of the thrusting the tongue can cause the teeth to move forward and stick out at an angle.

Thumb sucking can also contribute to speech problems, most commonly the development of a lisp.

How can I stop it?

It can be much more difficult to preventing your children from sucking their thumbs than a dummy because the thumb happens to be attached to them making it harder to simply take it off them; however, there are ways to discourage children. Tips from parents, doctors and dentists include rewarding good behaviour and providing alternatives, distracting children so that they don’t even think about sucking their thumbs and charting their progress on a plan.

A good idea is to avoid nagging all the time, as this can be counter-productive and to encourage children to make it seem like the child is making an independent, grown up choice to stop; focus on the positives and offer constant encouragement. If you have any worries, don’t hesitate to ask for advice.

Troublesome Thumb-Sucking Can Test Your Toddlers Teeth

Monday, May 12th, 2014

398467_blogMany children suck their thumbs as a comfort when they are tired, upset or ill and while it can be very cute, it can also be problematic for the teeth. Thumb-sucking can contribute to orthodontic issues, which may require treatment in the future.

The implications of thumb-sucking

Sucking your thumb is a very common childhood habit, but ideally, you should try to encourage your child to stop at an early age, as sucking the thumb over a prolonged period of time can affect tooth development and cause the front teeth to be pushed forward, which may change the alignment of your child’s lower and upper arches of the teeth and cause problems with speech and the formation of sounds, as well as the look of the smile.

If there are any issues with your child’s bite, which is the term used to describe the way in which both sets of teeth match-up together, the most common course of action to take is orthodontic treatment. The aim of this treatment is to straighten the teeth to improve oral function and speech and make the smile look more attractive. Children who have large buck teeth or protruding front teeth may get teased and this can have long-lasting implications for confidence and self-esteem.

Ways to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumb

It’s often harder to stop your child from sucking their thumb than using a dummy because obviously the thumb is attached and cannot be take away, like a dummy can. Often, it’s a good idea to introduce alternatives, such as a comforter or a teddy bear or to do a deal with your child so that they get the chance to earn rewards if they agree to stop sucking their thumb.

The Thumb Suckers of Leeds

Friday, October 19th, 2012

When you are growing up in Leeds, your body goes through a lot of changes and you and your parents need to be aware about how you change. One of the perfect examples of this is the way your teeth develop and in the early years they go through some dramatic changes- during which, you may well turn to thumb sucking for comfort. Now in the beginning, this is not such a bad thing, as it can help with the teething problem, but there are many reasons why you should be weaned off it when your second teeth come through. Seeing as everything is soft in your body at an early age, it is open to abuse and the effects of thumb sucking can really do some damage if you are allowed to keep it up. As your secondary teeth appear, the sucking may result in the top teeth growing out and the bottom teeth growing in, as well as your palate becoming distorted. You may also be taking the saliva from your mouth, which is very damaging, as it helps to fight bacteria that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Some parents may get tough on their kid’s and do sinister things like daub the thumbs in something foul before the sucking starts. But the best way is to make you wear gloves that will prevent you physically from putting your thumbs in your mouth.

Thumb Suckers of Leeds

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

A child picks up very cute habits in Leeds, even when it’s in the womb and thumb sucking is one of them. It appears to be a great source of comfort and is the first thing it will turn to if it doesn’t have a dummy in the mouth. But it’s a habit that they should grow out of by the time their secondary teeth come through, or being more precise, a habit they need to be out of when the secondary teeth come through. Over a prolonged period of time, thumb sucking can do quite a lot of damage so it must stop. To do this, you can offer incentives to get them to stop, buy specially designed gloves or thumb guards, or keep enlightening them about how bad it can be to carry on sucking and if need be tell them exactly how bad: as new teeth come through, they are fairly weak until they set in but constant thumb sucking throughout this growth can make them deformed and crooked, cause problems in the oral cavity and in the ‘bite’, lead to facial deformities and cause the child to talk with a lisp. However, you must be sure that the way you tell them doesn’t become a confrontation as this can have the opposite affect to what’s required.

The dangers of Thumb Sucking in Leeds

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Thumb sucking is a natural thing when a child is born, in fact, it’s a common thing attributed to apes as well- that’s not to akin people from Leeds to apes! Even from within the womb, a baby tends to suck on anything it can, which is considered to be a desire to suckle on the breast when born- it’s even comforting to a child. But when it comes to the way the teeth grow, it can be exceedingly detrimental if the process is not nipped in the bud. Thumb sucking before the teeth start to appear is perfectly acceptable as it helps to break the teeth through the gums during these early days. But after that, it needs to be stopped. For a start, teeth at this stage of a person’s life are ambiguous in themselves as they are very suceptible to infection and tooth decay from the foods that are put into a mouth full of erupting teeth through gums. But the pressure put on the teeth and gums at this very delicate from the sucking process can cause the teeth to grow out of synch and produce unnecessary inflammation in the gums. This can also lead to early tooth decay, so to wean a child off this habit at this early stage, can only be healthy for their teeth in the long term future.

Thumb sucking in Leeds

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Thumb sucking is a natural thing in babies- it’s comforting, relaxing and helps them to sleep. As strange as it sounds in Leeds, some adults still suck their thumbs too- maybe for the very same reasons. But for all the soothing qualities of having a thumb in the mouth for a child (and adult), it has also been linked to teeth that grow incorrectly, altering the way the teeth position themselves as they come through- leading to a higher cahance of having to wear braces in the future. This is especially if the sucking is aggressive and repeated over and over again. Normally, and quite naturally, this will stop as the child grows older and should not overtly interfere with the growth of teeth. But doctors and parents do prefer to see children start to wean themselves away from the problem from around the age of four, by trying to incorporate various methods. Some may sound bizarre, some way outdated. Things like informing the child about the risks- although as we well know, parents can get a bit ‘colorful’ by adding what will happen, should they continue to suck their thumbs; they will fall off or, a man will burst through the door and cut them off with scissors! Some parents will even dip the thumbs is something that is revolting to the taste- whatever the method used, it’s certainly a difficult problem to break.

Leeds dentists offer practical advice on thumb sucking

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Amongst children, thumb sucking remains a common habit. In those under two years of age it is associated with a desire for food. Almost a third of infants have the habit although most grow out of it by the age of five. It is not harmful to your teeth unless it is done during the period of development of permanent teeth, around the ages of five or six.

Thumb sucking can be a sign of fatigue or boredom or that your child is worried or stressed. It can cause teeth to become misaligned because of the presence of the thumb in the mouth when permanent teeth ought to be developing the natural way. Your child’s upper front teeth may begin to protrude outwards with the opposite occurring in the lower front teeth. The roof of the mouth may be affected too leading to problems with tongue positioning and even swallowing or speaking.

For these reasons it is important that children stop sucking their thumb by the age of about four. This can be difficult but with the right combination of gentle persuasion and communication your child can avoid the associated problems. Applying too much pressure to the child may reinforced their desire to thumb such so a better tactic is to discuss with them why they do it and praise them when they manage not to.

Your Leeds dentist can help with this process by explaining to your child the problems that may occur if they continue thumb sucking. Ask him or her to help today if you are worried about your child’s thumb sucking habit and the issues that it may cause

A dentist can help cure thumbsucking when nothing else can, says City of Leeds dentist

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Does your child persist in thumbsucking long after he or she has crossed infancy? This habit will no longer look cute and it is most certainly a cause for worry for you. If thumbsucking persists into childhood, it can create a lot of problems for the child. For starters, he or she will be emotionally dependant on the thumb. This is not even a pacifier or a toy that you could just fling away.
A popular City of Leeds dentist warns that parents have to try whatever they can in order to rid their child of this habit. If it continues, the child could have badly protruding upper or lower front teeth, requiring expensive and uncomfortable braces later on in life. The child will also have a lot of emotional and psychological issues stemming from feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
This habit can also expose a child to a lot of germs and this can have very serious consequences,
Parents could try substituting a pacifier for a thumb so that it can be thrown away later on to get the child out of the habit. Some parents stick an adhesive tape to the finger being sucked so that the child stops doing this out of disgust. It might also be necessary to take a stubborn child to a dentist so that the child can understand the gravity of the situation. If this does not work, the dentist will prescribe the use of a tooth guard to help solve this problem.

Leeds dentist advises parents on infant thumb sucking

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Sucking is a natural instinct that leads some babies to suck their thumbs during the first few months of life, or even before birth. The natural urge to suck usually decreases after six months but many children continue to suck their thumbs as a soothing or comforting habit. This habitual sucking usually fades in most children between the ages of three and six.

Prolonged thumb sucking after this time can cause the child to develop dental problems. The constant presence of the thumb causes the front teeth to move outward and other alignment issues. It can also cause malformation of the upper palate of the mouth. The longer that thumb sucking continues, the greater the dental problems and need for orthodontic correction continues.

It may be necessary to treat children who habitually suck their thumbs before it can cause any dental problems. Many child therapists suggest offering a reward system to help children to stop sucking their thumb. Other methods include using a nasty tasting, harmless liquid to make the thumb unpleasant to suck. If these practical methods do not work it may be necessary to have some behavioural therapy or even use an oral device.

While thumb sucking causes no really serious health concerns, it can greatly affect the development of teeth and even facial structure. Corrective orthodontic treatment could end up costing thousands of pounds and meaning several years of wearing unpleasant and uncomfortable braces. If you child sucks their thumb it may be in their interest to learn how to stop now before the issue begins to affect their future. Leeds dentists are trained to deal with thumb sucking and can offer parents the best advice on how to help children to finally give up this comforting habit.

Leeds dentists help children stop sucking their thumbs

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Thumb sucking in infants is a natural reflex action and can be very comforting for them. It is also a very common habit with recent studies estimating that between 75 and 95 per cent of infants suck their thumbs at some stage. This in itself is no cause for concern. This very comforting reflex is important for making children feel comfortable, many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep, and nearly all children will stop sucking it on their own between the ages of two and four. It is simply a case in most instances of outgrowing the habit.

However, some children do not stop sucking their thumb naturally. If your child is still sucking their thumb when their permanent teeth start coming through it is probably time to break the habit.

There are different types of thumb suckers, with some gently sucking a resting thumb in the mouth. This type is far less of a concern than an aggressive thumb sucker. This aggressive sucking can cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth development. Extended sucking can affect the position of the teeth and the profile of the patient, if allowed to continue.

There are several techniques to get your child to stop sucking their thumb, but it is important to remember to try and turn this into a positive activity. By getting angry, all you may do is push your child to suck their thumbs for comfort. Take a note of when your child sucks their thumb most and try reward charts for not sucking. Make your child an active participant in the giving up process. A Leeds dentist will be able to recommend further tips for helping your child to give up. It may take time but it is very important for your child’s future dental health and orthodontic appearance that they give up before it is too late.