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How does finger sucking affect children’s teeth?

Thumb sucking has become a habit in some children. Often these children suck their thumbs to calm themselves when they need to calm down. This habit can continue from infancy to childhood.

If this bad habit continues for a long time, the health of children’s teeth will be severely compromised. Over time, finger sucking can mess up the correct shape of the teeth. These problems are not only limited to crooked teeth, and may even cause disturbances in the jaw structure of children who are still growing and developing. All of these events can cause malocclusion problems.

Malocclusion and other teeth alignment problems require orthodontic treatment. Mild to moderate types of malocclusion and some other dental problems are usually corrected with orthodontic treatments such as braces or aligners. But more severe cases may even require surgery.

Why do children suck their fingers?

Children learn that when they are hungry or crying, the mother’s breast can soothe them. At times, they learn that finger sucking can have the same soothing effect as a mother’s breast.

Over time, in many situations, they get used to sucking their finger more. While thumb sucking is a common soothing behavior in young children, it can have serious side effects.

Toes or pacifiers actually act as a physical force that can affect your child’s still flexible oral tissues. These forces can strongly influence the growth of oral structures.

Long-term effects of finger sucking by children

Older children who continue to suck their thumbs may experience serious complications that require orthodontic treatment or reconstructive surgery. As a result of long-term use of thumb or pacifier sucking, the following problems will occur for children:

Misalignment of teeth

When children suck their thumb or pacifier, the pressure caused by this sucking on the teeth may cause the edges of the teeth to move outward.

Mal occlusion

One of the most common consequences of thumb sucking in children is bite problems. This situation is called malocclusion. Children who suck their fingers, toes or pacifiers from the age of 3 start to develop malocclusions such as overbite or open bite.

Both of these bite-related abnormalities can cause problems with the ability to speak and even eat.

Narrowing and reducing the width of the roof of the mouth and jaws

The lower jaw and the roof of the mouth begin to change shape with long-term sucking. This process can narrow the roof of the mouth and even shrink the jaw. Over time, this change will clearly affect the shape of the child’s face.

Shrinking of the jaw can cause the problem of crowding or disorganization and crowding of teeth because they do not have enough space to come out and they grow as they get a chance.

Treatment of open bite and other cases caused by finger sucking

If at a young age, the child abandons his habit, even though there are minor changes in the teeth and jaw, the problems will be solved by themselves little by little.

Unfortunately, if thumb-sucking continues until the permanent teeth erupt, permanent changes to the teeth and jawbone will occur. And the child will probably need corrective treatment.

Parents often ask: Does my child need a brace because they suck their thumb? It is difficult to answer this question without an evaluation and examination by an orthodontist.

Orthodontists must use x-rays and examine your child’s mouth and teeth accurately and completely to assess the extent or severity of teeth and jaw misalignment.

After this evaluation, an orthodontist can determine if your child needs standard orthodontic treatment such as braces. Your child may even need surgery.

Using braces and fixed orthodontics to treat tooth damage

For children who have damaged the beauty of their smile by sucking their thumb. Visiting an orthodontic clinic can be the first step of treatment.

Orthodontic specialists use braces and fixed orthodontics to solve significant dental problems such as open bite.

For younger children, early orthodontic treatment is sometimes recommended. Orthodontic treatment methods such as two-stage orthodontic treatment can greatly help reduce the child’s need for additional treatments in the future. Two-stage orthodontic treatment can solve your child’s problems over time and relieve you of worry.

How to help children to stop sucking their finger before permanent damage to the mouth and teeth?

To get the best results, you need to replace this unhealthy habit with healthy coping skills. Your baby usually calms down by sucking a finger or a pacifier. So find another way to calm him down.

Taking the right approach can help kids stop sucking their fingers. But every method requires time and you should not stop trying until you succeed.

You can teach your child to take deep breaths or listen to music instead of thumb-sucking. If your child is not cooperating with you, the best thing to do is to take him to a pediatric dentist to help you.

Click here to contact the best dentist in Canada.


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