Is Thumb-Sucking Healthy?

Thumb-sucking is normal!
Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex that is a common habit in many children. Babies are born with rooting and sucking reflexes that sometimes begin in the womb, that causes them to put their fingers, blanket, or pacifier into their mouths. Thumbsucking, pacifiers, or other objects make many babies
feel happy and secure. Many young children continue to suck their thumb to soothe themselves to sleep or in stressful situations.

continue to suck their thumb to soothe themselves to sleep or in stressful situations.
How can thumbsucking affect my child’s teeth?
Do not worry just yet! The American Dental Association says most children can safely suck their thumb without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws until their permanent teeth begin to appear. After permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with growth and alignment of the
mouth and teeth. This may also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Damages to the roof of the mouth is more likely to occur if your child sucks vigorously, as opposed to sucking passively, resting his or her thumb in their mouth.

When do children stop sucking their thumb and signs to watch out for?
According to the American Dental Association, most children will stop thumb sucking on their own around ages two and four. Some children will continue to suck their thumb beyond preschool years. However, studies have proven the older the child gets, the lower the chances are of them continuing the habit.
If your child is still sucking their thumb by the age when his or her permanent teeth start to erupt, it may be time to take intervening actions to break the habit. If you notice any changes in your child’s primary teeth or concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, contact your pediatric dentist!

How can I help my child quit thumbsucking?
Most children will stop thumb sucking on their own. However, some children may continue the habit a little bit longer. In some cases, paying no attention to thumb sucking is enough to stop the behavior.