Thumb-Sucking and Dental Problems
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Thumb-Sucking and Dental Problems

A young girl sucking her thumb

Thumb sucking that extends beyond babyhood can cause an “open bite.” This occurs when the roof of your child’s mouth (called the palate) develops a high arch. It may sometimes also cause the front teeth to protrude outwards, resulting in speech, and bite problems.

Kicking the Habit

Luckily, there are some ways you can encourage your child to give up this adorable, but damaging habit:

  • Utilize a sticker chart or some other reward system for hours or days without thumb sucking.
  • Use positive reinforcement and avoid negative reinforcement. This means praising your child when he’s not sucking his thumb and ignoring the behavior when he is.
  • Many children resort to sucking their thumb out of stress or boredom. Try to alleviate any stress your child may be experiencing or, if you believe they’re just bored, engage them in playing a game, doing a puzzle, playing with Play-Doh, or any other activity that requires the use of their hands.
  • Put a bandage or a sock on your child’s hand during bedtime to discourage overnight thumb sucking.

An open bite may require the use of orthodontics. If your child was a thumb sucker and now suffers from an open bite, please don’t hesitate to contact Lockett Orthodontics here in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Posted on Jun 8, 2020

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