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Thumb Sucking

When a baby sucks his thumb, it’s his natural reflex to feel secure and to soothe himself so he can fall asleep. Watching your child so peaceful and cute makes you think thumbsucking helps him to relax. When this becomes his habit, there’s a tendency that he may never outgrow it. Until then, it will be more difficult for you to let him stop this oral habit. 

Persistent thumbsucking past a certain age will affect your child’s teeth development and proper alignment. Furthermore, it even causes changes in the shape of his palate. Here are the common problems your child will have if you don’t help him quit this habit:

  • The upper front teeth are protruding
  • The lower front teeth are tipped backward
  • Open bite
  • Crossbite

Our dental team considers three variables before discussing interventions to stop your child’s thumbsucking habit. 

  1. Duration of the oral habit. If your child is below five years old, his habit may not cause significant issues with his jaw formation. However, you may notice that his front teeth are growing out of line. Usually, our orthodontists don’t provide intervention to stop this habit aside from a gentle reminder from the parents to supervise. At the age of five and beyond, your child’s jaw formation might be affected so a thumbsucking appliance would be a suitable option. 
  2. Intensity. Some children are passively sucking their thumb, which shows that their thumb drops when they are in deep sleep. Others aggressively suck their thumbs which cause more damage and parents should seek intervention for this. 
  3. Frequency. If your child does this habit less than an hour every day, his habit can be easily managed with your supervision. However, if he sucks his thumb all throughout the evening beyond age five, professional intervention is strongly recommended. 

Our orthodontists at Midtown Dental Centre help solve this problem by providing a dental appliance that’s most suitable for your child. Let your child sleep peacefully without causing harm to his proper teeth development as we stop his thumbsucking habit.  

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Midtown Dental Centre

20 Bloor St E, Unit R4, Toronto, Ontario

(by the Bloor & Yonge TTC Subway station)

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Sunday: 10am - 3pm

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