3 Cosmetic Problems Commonly Caused by Thumb Sucking

Sarah Health, Lifestyle

It’s natural for babies and infants to suck on a finger or thumb. It provides comfort, and you’ll probably be willing to let them get away with it if it means they’re able to drop off to sleep a little sooner. It’s not a problem in very young infants, but it’s still an issue you’ll need to curb if you want to avoid paying for expensive orthodontic work in the future.

Here are just three cosmetic issues that are commonly caused by childhood thumb sucking.

  1. Overbite

An overbite is probably the most common side effect of thumb sucking, and it’s easy enough to understand why. When your child sucks its thumb, they’ll root the tip of the thumb against the roof of the mouth and push the lower jaw backwards. If the habit continues as they grow, the lower jawbone will settle further back than it should, producing a pronounced underbite. Underbites produce an appearance most people find undesirable, and the problem has to be fixed by months of wearing a corrective retainer.

  1. Diastema

Any unusually large gap between two teeth is referred to as a diastema, but it’s a term most commonly associated with the upper incisors. While a slight diastema can often look fine, thumb sucking can press against those upper incisors long enough and hard enough to produce a pronounced splay. It’s nothing to worry about in terms of overall oral health, but it’s a condition most people dislike enough to make braces or even veneers an inevitable fix.

  1. Misaligned Teeth

Most children suck their thumbs when they’re getting to sleep, which generally means the thumb stays in the mouth through most of the night, and that’s a big problem. Keeping the thumb in the mouth produces unnatural pressure. The lower incisors often crowd together, and every tooth can be affected to some extent as pressure is transferred between them. Misaligned teeth is often the result, and braces will need to be worn to correct the problem.