Negative effects of thumb sucking habit

Newborn babies have learned to suck their thumbs in the womb. One of the strongest reflexes babies have from birth is the sucking reflex. As a matter of fact, blisters that are rarely seen on the fingers or wrists of some newborn babies are the result of this.

The sucking function is very strong in newborns. Finger sucking and tongue sucking habits are normal for the first 1.5 years and usually disappear at the end of 2 years. However, if the habit of thumb sucking or pacifier sucking continues, it exerts pressure on the developing muscle and bone structures, causing the teeth to move. In this case, the upper anterior teeth bend forward and the lower anterior teeth backward, and an open bite anomaly occurs between the lower and upper anterior teeth. If the habit is left, this gap is closed. However, it is possible for the tongue to enter this opening at the time of swallowing, and the event becomes even more severe. If the thumb sucking habit still continues after the age of 3.5, the permanence increases. If the thumb sucking habit continues at night while sleeping, it will be more effective and as a result, a narrowing of the upper jaw (a V-shaped chin arch) will occur.

The healthiest approach you can take against the habit of thumb sucking is to introduce your baby to the pacifier during the period when the sucking instinct intensifies. The pacifier can be dropped much more easily than the thumb-sucking habit.

Don’t allow it to be ridiculed (especially in school-going children).

Time it right and be determined to quit. Get your child to volunteer for this job. If you try to force him to quit, you will cause him to adopt his habit more.

Praise and reward him if he intends to quit

After controlling thumb sucking during the day:

Support your child to give up thumb sucking at night. This is usually more difficult and is done with the help of materials that will prevent him from putting his hands in his mouth (like putting on gloves or a Band-Aid on his hands).

Always go slowly. Don’t be harsh and humiliating. Keep in mind that it is very difficult for him and he will need support.

If the child continues to suck his thumb when he is 4-5 years old, it may be useful to give him suggestions. Explain to the child that what he is doing is an ugly behavior, that he does not look good to others, in a language that he can understand. At this age, children usually try to be like a big person and imitate their parents, and they often act like them. It can often be effective to take advantage of this situation and tell your child that his parents are not thumb sucking because it is not very pleasant.

If you cannot stop your child from this habit until the age of 6 (the age when the main teeth start to erupt) despite all your efforts, you should definitely consult an orthodontist.

The habit of thumb sucking, which continued until the age of 6-7, has now caused negative effects on milk teeth. During this period, it is necessary to help children with habit-breaking appliances. In this age group, the child who still sucks his thumb is also disturbed by this situation and often sucks his thumb reflexively or secretly in his sleep.

Habit-breaking appliances are effective if the child is willing to treat. These appliances, which are usually made on the upper jaw, are mobile or fixed and contain wire twists in the form of a cage in the anterior region of the palate. When your child unconsciously puts his finger in his mouth, the appliance will show its effect by preventing him from sucking his finger. Again, the fixed wire twists made in the anterior part of the palate and running parallel to the palate also show their effect by preventing the negative air pressure and preventing the suction pleasure.

Explain to your child that these appliances are not a punishment, they are just a reminder stimulus. In this way, you will ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment.

Despite the habit-breaking appliances, there are severe cases of thumb sucking. Even in adulthood, we rarely encounter individuals with this habit. If, despite everything, we have not been able to discourage your child from the habit, do not panic, because by the age of 12 it is possible to solve this problem with a comprehensive orthodontic treatment and the application of brackets.