AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

Is a Thumb Sucking Guard Really Necessary?

Thumb sucking is a common habit that can be difficult to stop in children. Most parents struggle to understand the habit when trying to help their kids. Before looking at a thumb sucking guard – one of the most preferred solutions – let’s take a closer look at the habit.

Why Some Kids Suck Their Thumb

Most babies have natural sucking reflexes, which make them suck their thumbs or fingers even before birth. This habit makes them feel more secure. That’s why most babies suck their thumbs when they need soothing or when going to sleep.

Thumb Sucking Duration

Generally, thumb sucking lasts between 2 months and 4 years. However, some children who’ve stopped the habit might go back to it when they’re stressed or nervous. Thumb sucking is not a major concern before permanent teeth start to grow. But if the habit continues after the teeth have developed, then you should intervene because the behavior can affect the roof of the mouth or even the arrangement of the teeth. The chances of developing dental issues as a result of thumb sucking depend on the rate of sucking, the duration, and the intensity of sucking. Fortunately, a thumb sucking guard can help stop the habit.

What is a Thumb Sucking Guard?

A thumb sucking guard can help your child stop thumb sucking by hindering the satisfying feeling that comes with it. Thumb sucking can adversely affect the appearance and growth of teeth and the oral cavity. Long-term side effects of the behavior include:

• Front teeth sticking out
• Tongue thrust

Improves Hygiene

On average, people have over 3,000 bacteria on their hands, and children can be notoriously germy because they touch virtually everything and put the same hands in their mouth. A thumb sucking guard offers extra protection from harmful bacteria.

Better Teeth

Millions of people need dental braces every year, and thumb sucking can cause overbites and underbites. A thumb sucking guard can help reduce these numbers.

Reduces the Chances of Speech Impairments

Most kids who learn to talk around a thumb in their mouth are more likely to have some form of speech impairment. About 5% of kids have such disorders by the first grade, so stopping the habit can go a long way in preventing speech impairments.

Some kids require a little help to stop sucking their thumbs. If you need assistance, reach out to our orthodontist and team at Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas. Contact us today and book an appointment!