How Thumb-Sucking May Affect a young child s Oral Health


How Thumb Sucking Affects Children’s Teeth

Video taken from the channel: Smile Council Orthodontics


Thumb Sucking The Long-Term Consequences

Video taken from the channel: Sarah Hornsby


Thumbsucking Akron Children’s Hospital video

Video taken from the channel: AkronChildrens


How Pacifiers & Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Video taken from the channel: St. Louis Children’s Hospital


Thumb sucking, a bad habit (kids’ edition) Lapointe dental centres

Video taken from the channel: Lapointe dental centres


How Can Thumb Sucking Affect Your Child’s Teeth?

Video taken from the channel: Parents and Kids of North Queensland


Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers And Oral Health

Video taken from the channel: Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut

Persistent thumb sucking can affect a child’s jaw, which causes their teeth to get misaligned. Even more, this repetitive action can also get your child exposed to dirt and bacteria, too. Although dental clear aligners can fix the issue once your child grows old, it’s still best to prevent it from happening as early as possible.

Thumb sucking isn’t usually a concern until a child’s permanent teeth come in. At this point, thumb sucking might begin to affect the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. The risk of dental problems is related to how often, how long and. Though thumb sucking is not harmful to a baby, it can be for toddlers. If this habit lasts past 3 years of age, it can slowly change the alignment of the teeth and impair their bite.

In some babies this habit is formed even before birth that is why parents find it hard to break the habit. Apparently there is nothing wrong with it but when the habit continues to persist beyond 3-4 years of age then it is likely children may develop complications related to dental health. How Sucking Affects the Bite In a normal bite, your child’s upper teeth should grow to overlap the lower teeth. But when a child continues to suck the thumb, fingers, or pacifier, any of these could place abnormal pressure on the gums.

This pressure may hinder teeth from erupting properly, and can even influence jaw bone growth. Thumb sucking can be of concern for many parents/guardians, and while seeking advice from a pediatric dentist is recommended, there are several methods to help break this habit at home. Though thumb sucking is not harmful to a baby, it can be for toddlers. If your child’s thumb sucking persists past the age of five, it can have a lasting effect on your child’s teeth.

Thumb sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth, or changes in the roof of the mouth. There are a number of problems that affect the oral health of children, including tooth decay, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, and early tooth loss. Even though baby teeth are.

How Thumb-Sucking Can Affect Teeth Parents often rightfully worry about whether thumb-sucking will result in a need for an expensive cosmetic procedure down the road. When a child continues sucking after they have permanent teeth, both the tooth alignment and the mouth’s proper growth can be affected. How Can Thumbsucking Affect My Child’s Teeth? After permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth.

It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break.

List of related literature:

Not only could sucking be affected, but the eventual position of the child’s dentition and speech may also be involved.

“Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician” by Marsha Walker
from Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician
by Marsha Walker
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016

4 Cause (thumb-sucking) and future effect (buckteeth) will not be meaningful to a 6-year-old child; furthermore, thumb-sucking may or may not cause malocclusion.

“Nursing Key Topics Review: Pediatrics E-Book” by Elsevier
from Nursing Key Topics Review: Pediatrics E-Book
by Elsevier
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

The habit can adversely affect a child’s dental health, however, and has been associated with an anterior open bite, malocclusion, narrowing of the dental arches, mucosal trauma, and deformity of the thumb.

“Family Medicine: Principles and Practice” by A.K. David, S.A. Fields, D.M. Phillips, J.E. Scherger, Robert Taylor
from Family Medicine: Principles and Practice
by A.K. David, S.A. Fields, et. al.
Springer New York, 2002

The doctor assures us that, unless Junior’s thumb sucking becomes excessively prolonged, it will not damage his mouth, teeth, or personality.

“So You Want to Raise a Boy?” by W. Cleon Skousen
from So You Want to Raise a Boy?
by W. Cleon Skousen
Verity Publishing, 1962

The general consensus is that thumbor finger-sucking will not have a detrimental affect on your child’s teeth until around seven years of age, when the permanent teeth begin to erupt.

“Save Our Sleep: Toddler” by Tizzie Hall
from Save Our Sleep: Toddler
by Tizzie Hall
Pan Macmillan Australia, 2010

Thumb sucking can cause malocclusion if it persists beyond age four.

“NCLEX-RN Questions & Answers Made Incredibly Easy!” by Susan A. Lisko
from NCLEX-RN Questions & Answers Made Incredibly Easy!
by Susan A. Lisko
Wolters Kluwer Health, 2016

4 Cause (thumb-sucking) and future effect (buckteeth) will not be meaningful to a 6 year old; furthermore, thumb-sucking may or may not cause malocclusion.

“Mosby's Comprehensive Review of Nursing for NCLEX-RN® Examination” by Judith S. Green, Mary Ann Hellmer Saul, Dolores F. Saxton, Patricia M. Nugent, Phyllis K. Pelikan
from Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing for NCLEX-RN® Examination
by Judith S. Green, Mary Ann Hellmer Saul, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008

Thumb-sucking will not have a detrimental effect on a child’s teeth if the habit is discontinued before

“Study Guide for Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing E-Book” by Gloria Leifer
from Study Guide for Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing E-Book
by Gloria Leifer
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2018

Some parents may perceive pacifiers as less damaging because they are discarded by 2 to 3 years of age, but thumb sucking may persist well into the school-age years.

“Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing9: Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing” by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson, Donna L. Wong
from Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing9: Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing
by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson, Donna L. Wong
Elsevier/Mosby, 2013

However, thumb sucking can cause malocclusion if it persists after age 4.

“NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy!” by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
from NCLEX-RN Questions and Answers Made Incredibly Easy!
by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Wolters Kluwer Health, 2012

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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  • I still suck my thumb and I’m 15 but it hasn’t affected my teeth at all and my dentist said that it actually helped my teeth and bite

  • I am addicted to it and it is really hard to stop so I don’t and I do do it in public and idc what they say and people just stare but idc I have that additude where is you don’t like it just look away I just do it everywhere and everyday and even when I sleep lol and before I go I have to say I also have a blanket I smell while I suck my thumb like I wrap it around my finger and smell it while sucking my thumb and I just feel like myself and I wouldn’t wanna be anyone else but me

  • This is a nice video to give people a starting place with myofunctional therapy. I work as a dental hygienist and I find myofunctional therapy pretty interesting. I have two boys. A three year old who has enlarged tonsils/adenoids and breathes through his mouth (ENT wants to wait until he is 4 to remove them) and a 1 year old that loves his thumb when he is sleepy or anxious. Is there any exercises I should be doing with the 1 year old to help his tongue rest on the roof of his mouth…

  • I’m 13 I’ve been sucking my thumb all my life sadly and my family has tried a lot of things like they put hot pepper on my thumb I continued sucking they have me this plastic thing that didn’t work I started again and I’m pretty sure I do it in my sleep sometimes

  • My sons is 23 he sucked his thumb when he was young so hard his teeth look like your photo above. Can it be repaired? He has been unable to bite with his two front teeth to eat ever in his life, never used them.

  • i used to suck my thumb lol and i got a habit breaker and now i’m gOod! habit breakers are awesome if ur embarrassed abt sucking ur thumb

  • I used to suck my thumb. Even put that nasty stuff on my thumb. I’ll still suck my thumb. I even suck my thumb, when I had braces on. I stop sucking my thumb when I was 17. When I had the retainers in my mouth. Cause you’ve to wear it overnight. That’s when I stop.

  • Hi I’m watch this now 2019 AND IM 11 years old and my teeth is so big right now I can’t stop suck my thumb on my mouth and when sleeping I tried stop it but I can’t HELP ME right now I put bandage but I pull it out lol HELP ME PLS!

  • This is so embarrassing but i suck my thumb and I’m 9 years old I’ve started it when I was 4 yrs old I’ve done it for 5 years ��������

  • Oh no I need to stop, I’ll stop
    Tomorrow, I don’t want that teeth:(, I have straight teeth but the gap between my upper teeth and down teeth�� it’s been 13 years

  • As a teen I am embarrass to say I still suck my bottom lip. All my fellow SUCKING BUDDIES understand that while sucking your fingers or thumb or bottom or top lips or even your tongue the feeling is so Real but there will come a time we all gotta move on be it 50 years from now.


  • Learn from me if there is any parent watching this listen up I’m 12 and when I was little I suked my thumb if I could go back in time and change it I would at the moment I suffer from a massive over bite and now I am also suffering with anxiety and confidence issues I get picked on at school and called some horrendous names i m just lucky I have friends who except me

  • Im glad its not just me but ill try to stop im eleven my cousin stoped at 10 i suck my thumb at night to sooth and calm me but i know its bad

  • y’all let me just say. I have schizoaffective disorder, depression, a panic disorder, ocd and enough trauma for a life time, and I still suck my thumb. im 16 lmao.

  • I’m twelve now.. i stop thumb sucking for about a month ago.. i stop because many ppl always mock me �� i know its hard to stop.. but i try..

  • uhhh I have perfect teeth (even complimented by dentist) and I stopped sucking on my thumb when I was 12.. never had braces or anything oh well not complaining!

  • I used to suck my thumb now my teeth look like this I now have bunny teeth and my friends and family say it’s cute.

  • Ah i can’t To I’m 12 I suck my finger when I’m stressed or have a lot going on I don’t do it in public only at home or places I feel comfortable in the consequences that I have to go through my mom tells me it’s a bad habit and my grandma basically everyone in my family my brother sometimes makes fun trying my best not suck my finger while watching this,

  • Ok so I used to suck my thumb, I stoped this year but my teeth have a gap and don’t fully close. I am happy its not as bad as The thumbnail.

  • As a speech therapist I can tell you it is completely true. I’ve seen hundreds of kids who just wouldn’t stop sucking their thumbs/fingers and now their parents want us to “fix” their speech problems and we have major difficulties with it because they let their kids suck until they reshaped their mouths. I’m working with a 9 y/o now who sucks all 4 fingers and it’s really hard to fix his speech b/c he’s been sucking he’s fingers since before he was born and he does it unconsciously even while he’s sleeping.

  • I never had these problems. I just turned 40 years old and still suck my thumb. Although, I do agree that it looks silly but it’s not hurting anyone. In fact, I never had a cavity. It increases the flow of saliva, thereby reducing plaque acid, strengthening the teeth and reducing tooth decay just like it would do if you were to chew sugarless gum after every meal.

  • My teeth don’t stick out and I’m 15 now I sucked my tumb when I was younger n my teeth stick out but barley and I can close my mouth perfectly this is making people uncomfortable

  • I suck my thumb and I’m 10 and it impossible to STOP! But I won’t give up! Leave a like if you have ever been in a situation like this before.

  • I’m am 13 and I have basically stoped i only suck my thumb like for 5 minutes before I go to bed. But except for that I don’t anymore. It was hard at the start but now it’s pretty easy

  • I’m 15 and I still suck my thumb but I don’t do it in public or with friends that would be too embarrassing to me. I’m in braces and I have rubber bands to help my over bite but I still suck my thumb. My parents were so mad at me for doing this I don’t remember a time when I was allowed to do it. So now they think I have stopped the habit but they don’t know that every time they come in my room I stop. It helps my anxiety and when I have really intense panic attacks it stops them and I’m grateful for that but I don’t know how to stop. Another thing I’ve noticed is I only do it when I have my stuffed animal with me I don’t do it when I don’t have the stuffed animal and I read it has to do with smell and I do smell the stuffed animal and that helps a lot with anxiety too.

  • Hi im Tessa and im 12 and i still do this and its kinda getting better ive never seen anyone for this and i now have a overbite ive only told two of my friends about it because most people make fun of me saying that they cant see my teeth so i ignore them but when i get home i think of what they say to me and it builds stress on top of stress and that leads me to sucking my thumb.

  • I’m about to turn 28 and I still suck my thumb. I try to hide it. My friends and distant family don’t know I still do but I think the people I live with know. It’s so bad that even my daughter has adopted the habit from me����‍♀️ she’s almost 7years. Worst part is that when I was 15 I got braces and some how I miraculously stopped but then got myself into the habit again �� and ever since, I cannot stop����‍♀️. I really need to stop so that I can help my daughter stop too.

  • I’m 19 and I still suck my thumb, I don’t see anything really wrong with it besides that it’s children’s habit. My teeth are good, my diction is also fine, so I don’t see point in making kids scared of sucking their thumb. Honestly most of them anyway outgrow it but if they don’t it’s not a big deal

  • im 23 and still suck my thumb. i have had braces to fix my severe over bite when i was about 13-16 but my teeth are slowly starting to gap again… im so sad nothing works help:(

  • This is such a lie you don’t have trouble eating and you recognize yourself you look normal you don’t look like a beaver or rabbit

  • Ok so I’m 25 and I still suck my thumb..����‍♀️ I know I might be the oldest one int the comment section. But I’m still on my journey to stop once and for all

  • im 10 and still suck my thumb.. i just got braces 2months ago and the first 3weeks i stopped sucking my thumb. then i started again.i saw great improvement in my overbite and 1month later sucking my thumb my overbite got bigger..i cant sleep without sucking my thumb,i try so hard but i cant break out of this awful habit.. ;c

  • I still suck my thumb even tho I’m not a teen I’m 9 and I’m nearly 10 so it’s progressing a lot through my life it’s very hard for me to stop this did help me to understand what I’m doing to my teeth and what I’m doing to my future life I will need braces because of this.��

  • I’m still like getting older, it’s starting to get out of control. Like when I sleep my habit can be involuntary but when I do it makes me calm. Now I have braces..

  • I sucked my thumb for 14 years. Now I’m 15 and i stopped that habit on my own. What i did was, i measured and sewed a little glove for just my thumb with a band for my wrist attached to it so it won’t come off. I kept it on all day everyday and i didn’t even mind for the majority of the time. After a month i felt like I was fine but i wore it when I was sleeping just in case. I feel great that i stopped and in a month I’ll put on braces. You can stop it too. Trust me.
    Edit: it’s been a year and I’m doing extremely well with my braces! My orthodontist mentioned the gap between my teeth was 0.07 cm. and it was a case almost needed of a surgery. Thankfully I’m safe. My sleep is so much better i can breathe, talk and eat without struggling so much and it’s amazing. Next edit in a year again, when i get these braces off!

  • Umm.. so basically I’m 21 and I have this issue as of now and also I do have a blanket… I read in a article it’s some what common but, it’s mostly cost because of lack of affection or Love you didn’t get as a kid. I was 4 when my dad left me and my mom was always working to put money on the table I never saw here almost up to 5 days in a week I think that’s why I still do it till this day I’m completely depressed because I still never had that feeling till this day. (Also my teeth are fine completely normal)

  • I am 11 i still suck my thumb and i can stop for about 8 hours or less but after that i have to suck my thumb i dont like spicy either i also suck my thumb when i get mad or sad or happy and i try to stop when i talk to my crush but it wont work tbh im sucking my thumb right now it helps me sleep to also i get confused cause i dont get hungry when i start to suck my thumb

  • im 9 almost 10 and i stopped sucking my thumb.. what used was just eat more because i suck my thumb when im hungry… not when im conscious though would better if you chained your arm so you wont be able to suck your thumb

  • I have a 4,5 yo daughter. She still sucking her thumb, but when I showed her several videos about the effects, she is stopping….Thank you for the video.��

  • This explained a lot. I suffer from the danger of sucking my thumb up until about 12 years old & since then my teeth �� has shifted back into a horrible position. So I wish I would’ve quit sucking my thumb when I was a baby. Now I’ll never be able to smile �� in pictures. Oh well ��

  • Sarah you’re awesome! Just subscribed. As a past orthodontics patient who had to have 4 extractions and braces due to an overbite from having bronchitis as a child, I definitely have the whole nine yards going on (narrow palate, pushed back mandible and maxilla). Will exercising correct oral posture possibly make my jaws see any forward growth? Also what is your take on chewing, can you benefit from that? Everybody thinks I’m crazy when I say I have problems from having to go through orthodontics when I was a child. I am now 29. Thank you so much

  • I’m ashamed of myself. I’m 10 I have been sucking my thumb since birth. My parents and younger brother sometimes teased me ��. But for the past 7months I haven’t sucked it!! Only because I don’t want braces and my daddy told me there would be worms in my tummy. ����������. OMG I JUST CHECKED MY TEETH AND I DON’T HAVE AN OPEN BITE ANYMORE!!!!!! Well sort of but its rlly small nowwwwww!!!! I never had a gap. I rlly want one idk why bc my auntie has it and she rocks it so well!! ��❤

  • i talk fine look fine and my teeth are norm and i been sucking my thumb for 19 years and dont have no problems but everyone is different

  • Oddly enough, I sucked my thumb till I was almost 10 years old, and the different dentists I have gone to always say that my teeth are so straight I look like someone who had braces. I never had them once in my entire life.

    Guess I just won the genetic lottery with my chompers. Wish I could say the same for my nose, lol.

  • I’m nearly 10 and I am still sucking my thumb. I desperately try to stop it during the day but I just can’t. I always do it at night. I already get bullied for my ugly buck teeth.
    Btw I really want braces but my parent keeps on saying your not ready yet.:(

  • But I just CANT!
    It’s impossible for me! How do I stop! It just relaxes me! Can someone help me! I mean, I’m typing this while sucking on my thumb right now!

  • None of this happened to me. I have perfectly aligned teeth. No gaps or buck teeth. I am now an adult and still secretly sick my two middle finger.

  • AkronChildrens I have news for your doctor. Thumb sucking is not a bad habit, it doesn’t cause any harm, it lowers the heart rate and produces feelings of comfort and peace. My contemporaries would pay money to feel the serenity I feel just by doing this inoffensive little habit! The only people that attempt to dissuade me are people that don’t know me or don’t love me. The people that know and love me know my teeth are good and that the only thing bad about my thumb sucking is their perception.
    When you talk about ‘reminders’ like putting a plaster on, or cayenne pepper this sort of behaviour from the parent will not be forgotten. It is a type of abuse for doing what? For a child to suck their own thumb.
    Apparently, you have no idea what it is like being a thumb sucker and you are asserting that it is a negative behaviour. You have a lot to learn about this natural stress-reliever and I’m horrified at your advice for curtailing thumb sucking. It is not a reminder, it is punishment.

  • I’m 13 and still suck my thumb, but my family doesn’t know I still do it because I try not to do it in front of them. I need help because I accidentally did it in school and this one boy keeps teasing me about it and a teacher called me out on it in front of a class. Please help! It’s super embarassing

  • My baby is 1 n half year old and while sleeping she completely keeps her thum in her mouth which scares me for her changing jaw shape. I m scared bcz i was having different bad habit and my jaws shape changed with crossed teeth. Pls. Help

  • Visit

    The thumb sucker sleep shirt is perfect for infants and children starting at 9 months. This shirt prevents children from sucking their thumbs and fingers in a comfortable snug fitting sleep shirt, that also helps teach them an alternative self soothing behavior.

  • I sucked my thumb way into adulthood, but it was easy for me to stop because I don’t want by twin babies to pick up the habit.
    I got called bucky a lot as a kid,and that really hurt me. When I heard the word bucky. I just knew that was for me( bucky) because I became so use to it, and psychologically, when I heard that name even on TV. I just knew it was for me, Bucky…
    I got braces as an adult, but sometimes even though I have a nice smile. I have to remind myself to smile ��

  • Thumb sucking is natural; it lowers my heart rate and has done NO HARM whatsoever to my dentition. There is a lot of fear mongering ‘oh no what will happen to my poor child if they don’t give up?’ Parents stop being so overbearing, and don’t you dare force your ‘bad habit’ dogma on anybody. Sucking your thumb cannot change the profile of your gum line, that is down to poor genetics. If you thought that was down to thumb sucking you have really bought into the dentist’s lies, how DAMAGING do you imagine simply sucking your thumb can be? If you are thinking about doing an ‘intervention’ just don’t. It’s their thumb they can suck it if they want. I’ve never had braces. Thumb sucking didn’t affect me negatively whatsoever and I’ve been doing it regularly and often all my life.

  • I still suck my thumb and I JUST GOT MY BRACES OFF! UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!:ccc

    I don’t want braces again, I still haven’t gotten a retainer yet either.

  • I am 13, I suck my thumb.. And have tryed to stop for years, I will sometimes go for months without doing it but then i will start again. I do like to suck my thumb but i really want to stop… any advice??

  • I’m 9 and I suck my thumb the reason I suck my thumb because I sleep with it and when I have trouble doing something or can’t do it I suck my thumb but I stopped now because I’m getting braces this summer

  • An over bite is when the jaw is pushed forward an overjet is when the teeth are pushed forward and out. I have an overbite now which could be down to sucking my 2 fingers when I was a baby. Even though I didn’t continue to do it into later life. Just give kids a dummy and let them avoid it overall

  • I’m nine and my teeth are going up my gums and I can’t stop sucking my thumb I tried everything I tried hot sauce and other stuff but it ever works ��please help. Me

  • Ok so I used to have a open and over bite this is to everyone when u go to the dentist and of u are trying to get braces that will put this thing in ur mouth where to u can’t suck ur thumb I used to suck my thumb too lmao but once u get used to that thing in ur mouth from the dentist u will stop bcs I stopped

  • I sucked my thumb from a kid until 17. I started because my parents wouldn’t give me a dummy and it became a coping mechanism due to a load of childhood struggles. I had a 6mm gap as sucking my thumb had pushed my upper jaw forward. I got a retainer tho that moved my lower jaw forward and it’s unnoticeable now. I only managed to stop because I got into an accident and had to have my thumb bandaged up for weeks

  • I don’t have an overbite but my four teeth up and down are very crooked, when I was little, my bottom tooth was loose and I refused to pull it out or try to lose it, so a tooth started to grow behind it, luckily, it’s not that bad and eventually I got it yanked out or I slipped and it fell out. So it grew normally, but I sucked my thumb when I was in first grade, so, my teeth were becoming crooked. I didn’t notice at first until the next year, my mom told me “Stop it, your teeth are crooked.”. And I was like “??” And I looked in the mirror.. and i saw my teeth, pushed together, almost pointing up. I wasn’t that scared but I now have two cavities. One on the left is VERY bad. On the right is starting to get better. I got the left cavity in second grade. I got the right cavity also in second grade. They hurt a lot, at first, I thought the right cavity was just a toothache during lunch while eating cookies, but it hurt more as I ate my snack.

    That’s all! Bye c:

  • When children experience open-bite, cross-bite, deep-bite, flared front teeth, spacing, etc., all of theses findings indicate that there is the structural problems in the child’s mouth. Before teeth erupt into the mouth, they begin to form within the gum structure. As the gum structure deforms, teeth will form into the wrong positions. As explained in this video, using a pacifier causes dental/orthodontic complications. This means that the pacifier is causing structural deformation of the mouth. There is increasing evidence that malformed oral structure, in fact, has significant adverse effects on overall health of the baby, in respect to breathing, middle ear function, sleep, speech, and so on.
    At present time, there seems to be no answer to why the pacifier causes all these problems. One answer is that the current pacifier industry has not fully understood how the mother’s breast works to safeguard the development of baby’s facial structures. I feel very strongly that there must be a fallacy in the design of current pacifier.

  • I used to be addicted to sucking my thumb but now I’m ten and I got rid of the habit and also some advice on how to stop just put nail polish on and because of the disgusting taste they will probably stop