Dangers Of Thumb-Sucking

Posted on: 19 October 2018

Your child's smile is important for a few reasons. While it does make a first impression, your child's teeth are also necessary for eating and speaking. Unfortunately, habits you may feel are small and insignificant can wreak havoc on your child's smile and oral health. If your child continuously sucks their thumb or fingers, you may be surprised by how this habit can affect their smile. Here are a few dangers of thumb-sucking.


One of the most common and most noticeable problems that your child will face if they suck their thumbs is a gap in their smile. Also known as an open smile, the gap may form between two of your child's front teeth. In some cases, the gap may occur in the top row of teeth, but many children develop a gap in their lower row of teeth, as well.

A gap in your child's smile now only affects their appearance. Teeth may begin to shift, moving into the space over time. This can lead to more severe bite misalignment.

If your child has a gap in their smile, dentists will most likely recommend orthodontic treatment. However, breaking your child's thumb-sucking habit first is recommended.


Another danger of thumb-sucking is the risk of an overbite. This bite misalignment affects the upper portion of your child's teeth, since the sucking action causes the front teeth to jut outward.

Overbites affect the look of your child's smile, but the misalignment may affect the shape of your child's facial features, as well, over time.

Once your child stops sucking their thumb, orthodontic treatment, such as palatal expanders and braces, will be recommended to correct the overbite.

Speech Issues

Most parents are surprised to learn that thumb-sucking can also cause speech issues. Children who suck their thumbs cause damage to the teeth, their bite, and their palate, which can affect the way they form letters and sounds when speaking.

Many children who suck their thumbs have a lisp, which can be appealing as your child is younger. Unfortunately, your child may not grow out of this lisp, so solving the problem early is essential.

Your child will need to learn another way to calm themselves so they do not do further damage to their teeth and mouth. Speech therapy will also be necessary.

Even though it may seem cute and minor, thumb-sucking can cause serious damage to your child's smile, oral health, and speech. Contact a clinic, like Alaska Dentistry For Kids, for more help.