Thumb Sucking Dangers for Children

It is well known that many babies find comfort in sucking their thumb. In fact, some babies begin sucking their thumb while still in the womb. However, there can be thumb sucking dangers for children if they continue this habit past the age of 3 or 4.

Tooth and Jaw Structure

In some cases, thumb sucking can affect the formation of a child’s mouth. Unfortunately, constant pressure from a thumb, finger, or pacifier will negatively interfere with the eruption of teeth as well as jaw formation. On one hand, a normal bite is where the top teeth overlap the bottom when the mouth is closed.  On the other hand, a child’s thumb sucking can produce an open bite, or where there is a gap between the top and bottom front teeth when the child closes their mouth. Down the road, this child will likely experience dental issues and perhaps need braces. Steer clear of the thumb sucking dangers for children!

Further, a child’s teeth can even be pushed forward. How far they stick out depends on the pressure applied and amount of time a child sucks their thumb during the day. Certainly, you can see the thumb sucking dangers for children.

Tips to Break the Habit

You will likely notice that your child will naturally stop on their own. If however thumb sucking persists past 3 or 4 years old, please consider some simple ways to break the habit. Thumb sucking dangers for children can be avoided! According to, below are 3 ways to break this habit.

  • Praise & Reward. Explain to your child why it’s so important not to suck thumbs and think of a way to reward them for not doing it — as long as it’s not with tooth-harming sweets! Stickers or an activity they enjoy might serve well. Always offer gentle reminders rather than scold when you notice a thumb in your child’s mouth, and praise them when they stop.
  • Comfort & Distract. Children have different triggers for thumb sucking. Does your child tend to do it when stressed or bored? If so, some extra hugs might help, or an activity to keep those little hands busy.


Rancho Dental has a deep desire to help all of their patients to have a great smile. This of course includes the little ones. If you find yourself having a difficult time in breaking your child’s thumb sucking habit, give us a call! We can give you needed professional advice.



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Temecula, CA 92591

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