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Is Thumb-Sucking Bad for Your Child’s Oral Health?


While generally harmless for a young baby, thumb-sucking can cause oral problems if continued after adult teeth erupt.

A natural reflex for children, thumb-sucking can help babies to feel happy and safe in the world around them. However, as permanent teeth begin to come in, thumb-sucking can cause teeth problems involving growth and alignment as well as changes to the roof of their mouth. Aggressive thumb-suckers can even do damage to their baby teeth. And though most children stop naturally between ages two and four, others can have difficulty kicking the routine.

So, what should you do if your child is having trouble breaking the habit? Here are a few tips.

How to Stop

  • Some children opt to suck their thumbs for comfort out of insecurity or anxiety. Try to discover what the underlying reason is for the thumb-sucking and address it.
  • If your child is older than four, turn not sucking their thumb into a game where they receive a sticker for each day they go without doing it.
  • When you notice your child is not sucking their thumb, praise them for it.

Schedule Your Visit

If your child is still hooked on sucking their thumb by the time they’re a little older and visiting us regularly, we’ll explain to them why they should stop. Is your child ready for a checkup? Give our practice a call to book an appointment.

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