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Thumb Sucking

Closeup of child's teeth thumb sucking

About Thumb Sucking 

Some children may have a strong, innate urge to suck their thumb, and it can be frustrating and difficult for parents. This compulsive behavior generally begins before a child turns 2 years old but can begin at any time before permanent teeth start to come in. 

When your child sucks their thumb, it can push teeth outwards over time, causing a condition known as telescoping. This makes them more susceptible to decay and damage. In some cases, the teeth on either side of the tongue can grow too close together. This is called occlusion and usually requires extracting one or both impacted teeth to restore space so as not to permanently damage them.

Parents should try to limit how much time their children suck their thumbs. If a child sucks their thumb, they should limit the time and use a pacifier with teeth guards. Your pediatric dentist can also provide an orthodontic plate to ease pressure and protect your child’s teeth from occlusion.

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