Thumb sucking is natural for children. It may help a baby feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world. Young children may also suck their thumb to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep.

Is thumb sucking bad?

Generally the intensity of the sucking determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumb suckers may develop problems with their baby (primary) teeth. Long-term thumb sucking can also interfere with growth and development of the teeth and upper jaw.

When to encourage an end to the thumb:

Children usually stop sucking between the ages of two and 4 years old. Many do this on their own after losing interest or outgrowing the habit. Others are able to end the habit with gentle and positive encouragement from a parent. However, some children continue to suck their thumb beyond the age of 4. If you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking be sure to ask the doctors at Alligator Dental for some advice!

Dr. Matthew Gillham