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Troublesome Thumb-Sucking Can Test Your Toddlers Teeth

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.

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