Thumb sucking and its effect on teeth and Jaws

Thumb sucking and its effect on teeth and Jaws

Thumb sucking is a normal and useful habit for kids up to the age of 4.This helps the kids to sooth and pacify themselves. Research says about 75% of the kids suck on their thumbs or fingers in the first year of life. The habit itself is self-limiting and many children give it up as they grow in age.

When should parents start worrying?

By the time the kids reach their 5th birthday most of the kids leave the habit of sucking thumb. However one in every five kids still continues with the habit and this is the time parents start to worry about it, mainly because this is the time when the child’s classmates start teasing him or her for the same.
However, this is not the only reason parents should worry about. If thumb sucking continues beyond the age of five,it can lead to serious dental problems.

Dental problems caused by thumb sucking

The negative pressure or the suction created by the act of sucking on the thumb leads to changes in the position of the upper front teeth and they start to jet out in an upward direction leading to an increased space between the lower and the upper teeth.
The upper jaw collapses inwards and becomes V shape and because of that, the face becomes narrower. The lower front teeth collapse inward towards the tongue, this leads to decreased ability to bite and chew from the front teeth.

Other effects of thumb sucking.

Children with thumb sucking develop speech problems and difficulty in pronunciation of words that begin with letter S. The skin of their thumb becomes chapped and at times they do develop fingernail infection. The skin around the thumb becomes dry and chapped and sometimes even the thumbnail fails to grow properly.

How to stop this habit in kids?

Since time immemorial parents have tried many things to stop their child from sucking on the thumb. From pepper sauce, too bitter medicines, bandaging the thumb, reprimand, and scolding. Everything has been tried, but these measures give a result for the short term, most of the times the habit returns.

So is there a permanent solution to break this habit?

Yes! A definitive solution is a bluegrass appliance.
This appliance is custom made for the kid and has two-three acrylic beads attached to it. When the child places his thumb in the mouth, he is unable to form a proper seal around the thumb and because of that the negative suction never forms in the mouth. Within 21 days the habit breaks permanently.

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