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  • Joe Wilson

Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers and Your Child’s Oral Health

Thumb sucking is one of the most universal early childhood habits, a common reflex among infants seeking to soothe themselves and explore their world. They even begin sucking on their fingers while still in the womb. But even this seemingly ordinary behavior can have a profound effect on the growth of a child’s teeth and jaw, with some changes taking place as early as 18 months of age. And if this oral practice continues much past the age of 4, it is time to do something about it.

The specialists at the office of Orthodontics, Inc. advise our patients that if their child’s thumb sucking has become prolonged, the child could be vulnerable to a number of common orthodontic problems. These include front teeth that stick out (known as buck teeth), a misaligned bite, and changes to the shape of the jaw. Continued use of a pacifier also has been found to present some of the same drawbacks, with these rubber or plastic objects forcing the child’s teeth to move, and even potentially changing the shape of the roof of the child’s mouth.

An examination by our board-certified orthodontists can zero in on any potential long term effects from thumb sucking and pacifier use, and we can offer a gentle but effective course of action for helping your child break out of these habits. We will take steps to guide your child’s permanent teeth into their proper positions, and have training in dentofacial orthopedics, a specialty that helps ensure that the jaw is developing normally.

It is recommended that parents start planning for their child’s oral health at an early age. The orthodontists at the office of Orthodontics, Inc. work with our patients and their families to help them achieve long lasting smiles that radiate health and well being. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today for an appointment.

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