The Dangers of Thumb Sucking

While a baby is mostly reliant on his parents, there are times when they learn to soothe themselves. Thumb sucking is a very common self-soothing activity that babies develop when they are young. In the absence of the feeding bottle or a pacifier, a baby learns to fulfil the need with an appropriate substitute: the thumb.


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It works wonders. When a child is busy with his thumb, he is fairly satisfied and needs nothing else. Unfortunately, this magical habit leads to unfavourable results:

  • It may be prolonged. When a child develops a specific comfort involved with the activity, he will find it hard to stop something that feels good. It brings him much comfort, so he takes it with him until he grows old. At a certain age, this will come with damaging social image. He may be ridiculed by peers if he does not learn to overcome it.
  • Front teeth become protruded. With the thumb constantly placed inside the mouth, the anterior teeth become tipped to accommodate its constant presence. This gives the patient a protruded facial structure, with obvious prominence of the lips.
  • Palatal deformity. When the effects of the thumb sucking habit are more extreme, it may cause a deformity on the palate. The roof becomes constricted because of the constant pressure the thumb places on it.
  • Speech defects. If there is an apparent deformity on the teeth and the palate, it is natural that the normal formation of sounds becomes affected because the tooth will not be able to contact the way it ought to.


If your child has thumb sucking problems, it is best that you correct it right away, before it causes any permanent damage on the teeth.