Thumb Sucking

The constant pressure of the tongue against the teeth can cause crooked teeth and/or orthodontic relapse. Habits like thumb sucking can also cause the teeth to erupt out of alignment and cause malocclusion.

Thumbsucking creates a high, narrow, arched palate from the pressure of the thumb and the pressure created in the mouth by the buccinator muscle.

This habit can also cause the maxillary incisors to flair out toward the upper lip and mandibular incisors to tip lingually toward the tongue as the thumb rests on them during the course of sucking.

Aside from the damaging physical aspects of thumb sucking, there are also additional risks which unfortunately are present at all ages. These include increased risk of infection from communicable diseases, due to the simple fact that non-sterile thumbs are covered with infectious agents, as well as many social implications. Some children experience social difficulties, as often children are taunted by their peers for engaging in what they can consider to be an “immature” habit.

 

This  video shows consequences of thumb sucking!

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So why should children stop?

thumbs  

Bone requires pressure to remodel and rebuild. A developing palate (roof of the mouth) can easily be changed or deformed by noxious habits including digit sucking, pacifiers, sippy cups and other oral habits.  Prolonged vigorous sucking interferes with normal growth development of facial form, nasal cavity, tooth alignment and eruption.

The habit of sucking may have already done significant damage to the craniofacial structure by the time some children feel ready to stop.  And there are many individuals who continue the habit into adulthood.

 

 

How do I get my child to stop sucking?

All For Speech Center offers a positive reward-based program that can help children eliminate this habit over a 4-5 week period.  In fact, 95% of our program participants stop sucking the very first day they start!  What an accomplishment!

MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY FOR THUMB SUCKING BEFORE AND AFTER

THUMB THERAPYThe child has sucked his thumb for several years. The thumb has left a “thumbprint” in the roof of his mouth – plus the tongue had to erupt around the thumb. This child could not take bites out of a sandwich very well. He had to chew quickly and practically swallowed his food whole, leading to digestive problems. After habit elimination and rebalancing his facial muscles, his teeth were able to erupt almost normally. Note the widening of the smile on the right after therapy.  Again, not only far more attractive, but many aspects of general health can now improve. Orthodontic therapy can be streamlined and very successful!

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