July 10, 2018

Children’s Dentist in Arlington Explains the Risks of Thumbsucking

Filed under: Children's Dentist — Tags: — allheart_dental @ 3:04 pm

young babyAs a parent, nothing is more important to you than the health and development of your child. In addition to a strong body, you also strive to promote the health of their teeth and gums. You practice proper oral hygiene habits at home and take them to their children’s dentist in Arlington twice a year. Despite your best efforts, you may be overlooking a serious problem that can affect their dental health and development—thumbsucking. While it may look cute, it can have lasting consequences for their teeth and bite.

Why is Thumbsucking Bad?

Your child has a natural reflex to suck. As a result, fingers, thumbs, and pacifiers can easily find their way to your child’s mouth as they use sucking to self-soothe. It will make them feel secure and happy, but it could cause serious damage to the development of their teeth.

As your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt, the bad habit can impact the proper growth of their mouth and lead to alignment issues with their teeth. In addition, it can change the shape of their mouth, leading to speech and eating difficulties.

If your child does not break the habit while they are young, the constant pressure can push their teeth forward and out, leading to an open bite. The tongue can also begin to thrust out in an unnatural position, leading to swallowing and speech problems.

To protect their smile, it is best to stop the sucking as soon as possible.

What Can I Do to Help?

Often, children naturally outgrow thumbsucking, but not always. If your child continues to put their fingers in their mouth, you need to monitor the habit. If they passively do it with minimal sucking or the sucking only occurs on occasion, it is less likely to cause problems.

If they are persistent with it, it is time to intervene. You do not want to punish them for the habit. Instead, praise them when they self-soothe without doing it. Help them to find comfort in other areas, like a stuffed animal or a hug from you.

If home intervention is not enough, it may be time to visit your Arlington children’s dentist. There are oral appliances that can be used to make it difficult for them to suck. In addition, they can help to correct any complications that have developed before they turn into a bigger problem.

Protect Your Child’s Smile

While you work to ensure that your child is happy and healthy, do not forget about their teeth and gums. Set an early foundation for a commitment to their dental health to foster a beautiful smile that will last for a lifetime.

About Allheart Dental Implants & Orthodontics

At Allheart Dental Implants & Orthodontics, we treat patients of all ages—even young children. We offer complete care to nurture the health and development of young smiles. If your child has a habit of thumbsucking, we can help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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