thumb sucking and pacifiers Lincoln NE

Dentist For Children in Lincoln, NE: Effects of Thumb Sucking in Children

Our dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can tell you that the effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers are often the mild misalignment of the baby teeth that do not always affect the development of permanent teeth if these habits are stopped at an early age. Thumb sucking is a common behavior of babies and some children because it is a way they can soothe themselves. It allows them to feel comforted, but unfortunately, the long-term effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers can create lifetime problems if it is not stopped at the appropriate age.  Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can help you identify any dental-related effects of thumb sucking your child might be experiencing.

baby with baby teeth effects of thumb sucking

From the moment children enter the world, they are considered a natural-born being with an urge to suck on something, and this is even apparent as they continue to grow and explore the world putting everything possible into their mouths. Once a child reaches approximately six months of age, the urge does decrease somewhat, however, thumb sucking can still be part of their routine that helps them fall asleep. If children wake up at night, they may also find it will relieve hunger and possibly soothe them back to sleep. The effects of thumb sucking is not confined to the teeth. Prolonged thumb sucking past age 5 can potentially be a sign of a more significant problem or even an emotional disorder.

While parents sometimes find themselves offering their child a pacifier or letting them self-soothe by thumb sucking, eventually this can cause poor alignment of teeth and create a potential need for expensive dental work down the road. Another long-term effect of thumb sucking is speech problems or delay. At this point encourage your child to break this habit. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE Jon Isaacson can give you some suggestions on how to break this habit.

baby enjoying outside with balloons effects of thumb sucking

Our dentist for children in Lincoln, NE  gets a lot of questions about what the long-term effects of thumb sucking are past the age of 5 or 6. They include:

  • Speech complications such as a lisp possibly caused by the position of the jaw bone.
  • The spread of germs. While it is impossible to avoid all germs, some bacteria that children acquire as an effect of thumb sucking can cause serious illness.
  • The roof of the mouth can become more sensitive and change shape.
  • Teeth can be forced into different positions and lead to either an underbite or overbite.

Data shows that nearly 30% of pre-school age children continue to suck their thumb.

pediatric dentist on effects of thumb sucking in Lincoln NE

Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE has some helpful tips that may help you break your child of the habit:

  • Be kind. Have compassion and try to understand their needs. Offer support and teach them about the long terms effects of thumb sucking.
  • Help them to live as stress-free as possible.
  • Offer distractions such as toys or activities.
  • Do not punish your child. Disciplining your child could cause more stress for them creating a need to self-soothe, leading to thumb sucking.

Check out a this infographic on this topic:
(Click image to enlarge)

infographic effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers

It is crucial to begin the task of breaking bad habits early. Set specific times at which your child can have a pacifier so that they don’t become dependent upon it all day and night. Everyday household items such as placing a sock over your child’s hand can prevent them from thumb sucking during the night. Possibly set up a reward system, so that when they do refrain they are rewarded making it more likely for them to want to stop.

dr ohara teaching dental health and the topic of effects of thumb sucking to child

If these simple tricks don’t work you can always talk to your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE. They can prescribe a bitter tasting medication which can be used in coating the tongue or pacifier. Refrain from using any household solutions until visiting with your local dentist because some of them are very harmful to children.

Do always remember that there is a reason your child is sucking his/her thumb. Whether it is insecurity, anxiety, or even discomfort of some sort, be sympathetic and listen to what your child is telling you. Merely creating that nurturing environment can lead to them becoming emotionally stable and healthier overall, decreasing the need for and thereby reducing the long-term effects of thumb sucking.

If you are struggling to help your child quit sucking their thumb, you are not alone. Just remember that the unfortunate long-term side effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers are worth the effort it will take to help your child overcome this habit.

Learn when children should stop thumb-sucking from our dentist in Lincoln, NE, Dr. Jon Isaacson.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Your Caring dentist for children in Lincoln, NE

jon Isaacson

Dr. Jon Isaacson

CAQ on the effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers for your dentist for children in LIncoln, NE

Do pacifiers cause dental problems?

Pacifiers can cause flaring out of the upper front baby teeth, creating the inability to bite with front teeth. If pacifier use is stopped before the age of 4, it usually does not effect the positioning of the permanent teeth. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can screen your child for these conditions and help you and your child find ways to quit this habit.

What is a good age to take away a pacifier?

Ideally, pacifiers should be taken away by the time a child starts speaking. This is because often children who prolong the use of pacifiers have delayed speech or speech problems. The very latest a pacifier should be taken away is age 4 due to long-term effects to the development of permanent teeth. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can help you find good strategies for stopping this habit.

Is it good to use a pacifier for babies?

>Pacifiers can be a great tool for parents to use to help soothe a young baby. This is very relaxing and soothing for infants and can help them stop crying and calm down and sleep better. Babies are naturally inclined to suck fingers or pacifiers to help themselves relax.

Can a baby sleep with a pacifier all night?

Pacifiers certainly help a lot of babies to relax and fall asleep. It is not a bad thing for babies to sleep with a pacifier, although a baby who depends on it throughout the night may have the tendency to wake up in the middle of the night frequently if the pacifier falls out of his mouth.

What causes an anterior open bite in children?

Anterior open bite is when the front teeth do not come together when the back teeth are touching. This can be a result of genetics, but is very common among kids who have a history of prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use. It is a very common effect of thumb sucking. This condition can be corrected through orthodontic treatment and in rare cases, surgery. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE  can help you identify this condition and refer you to an orthodontic specialist.

Is there a children’s family dentistry near me in Lincoln, NE?

Nebraska Family Dentistry has five locations throughout Lincoln, NE that offer family and children’s dentistry. To find a location near you, click the link below.

Is there a dentist for kids near me in Lincoln, NE?

A: All of our locations have caring, compassionate doctors who love serving patients of all ages, including kids. Follow our link to find a location near you in Lincoln, NE.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
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