Curbing Thumbsucking in Older Children

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Thumb sucking is normal for babies and toddlers. In fact, this is seen as a natural, healthy reflex that makes the baby feel comfortable and safe. However, once your child's permanent teeth are in, thumb suction can cause serious problems with proper mouth development and tooth alignment. Knowing when and how to stop thumb sucking is the key to preventing long-term damage.

When thumb sucking becomes a problem

Many children usually stop sucking their own thumbs, usually around six or seven months of age or between the ages of two and four. You can visit to get information about thumb sucking prevention in children. 

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However, if thumb suction continues, experts recommend taking steps to limit behavior before a child's permanent teeth enter – which usually occurs around the age of six.

Thumbs side effects

After the permanent tooth has grown, the pressure caused by prolonged forceful suction of the thumb can pose a serious threat to the teeth, jawbone and mouth covering. Possible side effects include incorrect occlusion, language difficulties, illness, and embarrassment.


One of the most serious long-term effects of thumb sucking is improper occlusion or misalignment of teeth. These include open bites, which occur when the lower and upper front teeth do not fuse with the closed mouth, and excess bites when the upper front teeth overlap with the lower front teeth.

Trouble speaking

Thumb sucking can negatively affect speech in a number of ways. Constant thumb sucking results in less time spent learning and practicing language, which can hinder the development of the oral motor skills required for speaking.