Thumb-sucking is a comforting habit that children usually outgrow between the ages of two and four years of age. However, if a child is still sucking his or her thumb beyond age four, the habit could jeopardize the proper development of the teeth and jaws. Of particular concern is vigorous sucking. This can lead to changes in the palate that affect the permanent bite. Vigorous thumb-sucking is usually more difficult to end without intervention. If a child does not come to understand that thumb-sucking is unacceptable, the dentist can help to break the habit with an appliance that has a small roller that blocks placement of the thumb from the backs of the upper front teeth.
Early dental visits can keep watch on how tooth development is progressing. They are an important part of growing up healthy. When it’s time for their first visit, satisfy your children’s natural curiosity by telling them that the dentist is first going to count their teeth, then take their picture, clean them, and see that they are healthy. We believe that a healthy smile is important at any age.
P.S. Parents may place bandages or lemon juice on children’s thumbs to discourage them from thumb-sucking.