The Consequences of Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common habit among young children.  It is a completely normal habit that develops as a natural reflex, and it often helps soothe an infant or child or helps them to fall asleep.  The habit often stops naturally before a child starts preschool.  The American Dental Association encourages parents to begin actively discouraging the habit by age 4.  Thumb sucking can become harmful if it persists beyond the ages of 5-6 years.

Why you should be discouraging thumb sucking:

  • It could begin to affect your child’s mouth and developing jaw
  • It could cause permanent teeth to be misaligned later in life
  • It could lead to changes in the palate that could later affect your child’s bite






If the habit persists, you may need to visit an orthodontist for an evaluation.  Concord Orthodontist, Dr. Vermette, offers complimentary consultations and has helped many patients that have experienced negative effects from thumb sucking.  At the consultation, he will take digital photographs as well as a panoramic x-ray and perform a thorough (but gentle!) exam of your child’s mouth.  He will review the images with you and provide some solutions for correcting the habit, as well as some potential treatment to correct alignment or bite issues that may have developed.

No matter the method, it is important to be positive and supportive with your child!  Dr. Vermette helps to guide you through this stage using positive reinforcement, which will make the process much easier for your child and encourage them to not return to the habit.

If you live in or around the Concord area, give Vermette Orthodontics a call to make an appointment to talk about ways to help stop your child’s habit before it creates a problem.