Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a bad habit that usually appears at an early age and is characterized by sucking the thumb.

thumb suckingThumb sucking is one of the most common bad habits connected to small children. It appears at an early age and kids tend to rhythmically suck their thumbs for a certain reason. It is very similar to sucking a pacifier. The whole process creates a pressure on the surrounding structures and creates a vacuum. It can happen with other parts of the body covered with skin, especially big toes. According to research, this act has a calming effect on the small ones. The finger that is usually in question is the thumb, although some kids do suck on other fingers as well. It all starts out as a reflex but ends up being an uncontrollable habit that can lead to a lot of problems. Thumb sucking is a normal thing to happen until a certain age, but if it still appears after that it can be harmful. It should disappear when the kid is 5 years old. If that doesn’t happen, mothers should be very careful and consult with a dentist right away. If the habit is not discontinued after that age it can cause very serious problems in the permanent dentition.

Finger sucking is completely normal for infant children. It appears as a very natural reflex that is supposed to go away. The calming nature of the sucking makes baby very happy. By the age of four, parents should start trying to have their kids quit this bad habit. This is a very important time when jaws, teeth, alveolar processuses are developed and it can interfere with that process. Some of the damage caused can be irreversible. The habit can appear in a mild form or in a very aggressive one. The symptoms and treatment depend on the form of the habit.

Symptoms:

If the thumb sucking persists after the age of five and six it leads to many visible symptoms. First of all, there is a negative effect on the teeth because of the pressure it causes on them. They can be crooked, misaligned and most of the time protruded. Another big problem is an open bite, which means that the lower and upper teeth don’t get in touch. There will be skeletal changes as well, which are very concerning. The tongue will be able to get in between the space in the front and protrude the teeth even more. There will be problems in chewing, biting, breathing, speaking and more. There will be a posterior crossbite that makes all of these activities even harder. The risk of infections and oral diseases due to the non-hygienic nature of the habit is very high.

protruding teeth

Treatment:

The treatment is definitely complicated and requires a visit to the orthodontists. The first thing that dentists try is preventive measures. This happens during the very early stages of the habit. There are several ways you can affect your kid, including placing some substances on their hands, influencing them by speaking, involve special rewards and more. The second stage uses special appliances meant to correct the habit. In the beginning, these are activated appliances that will stop the kid from placing the thumb inside the mouth. At one point there might be the need for fixed appliances to fix the orthodontic situation.