Thumb Sucking

Sucking the thumb is considered normal behaviour for babies and may even start in the womb. However, if it continues after the age of two or three, it can have negative effects on developing teeth and bite.

Thumb sucking has the following effects on the mouth and teeth:

  • An open bite in the front: The front teeth in the upper jaw and the lower jaw cannot meet.
  • The back teeth in the upper jaw are pushed inward towards the palate, affecting the bite.
  • High palate: The pressure from the thumb on the growing palate bone affects the shape of the palate.

If the habit is interrupted very early, the bite recovers and the permanent teeth often grow into a correct position without the need of orthodontic treatment.

How to stop thumb sucking?

  • Support and encourage your child to stop.
  • You could try coating your child’s thumb with a taste you know they find unappealing such as vinegar.
  • Use Mavala Stop. The bitter but harmless taste help your child (over 3 years) stop sucking the thumb.
  • Consult your dentist. A dentist can provide your child with a thumb sucking deterrant but also can advise if there is an effect on the developing teeth . If there is an adverse  effect ‘orthopaedic’ orthodontic treatment may be indicated.
  • Be patient, children do often grow out of the habit but if you are concerned seek professional advice.

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