Why You Should Discourage Your Child From Thumb Sucking

8 March 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Many parents think that thumbsucking is a normal behavior for children to exhibit. However, the reality is, thumbsucking can lead to a lot of problems for your child, both in their childhood and adult life. If your child is exhibiting signs of this habit, here are the main reasons why you should make an effort to stop them.

Tooth Alignment

One of the biggest problems with thumb sucking is the same thing as biting nails. When children suck their thumbs, it can gradually push or pull teeth out of alignment. This can cause teeth to become overcrowded, which may mean that they will need braces at some point in the future as a result. This can happen while they have baby teeth or adult teeth, so it's not a good habit for a child to have at any age.


Hands are covered in bacteria, even for adults. Children, however, touch all kinds of things that adults would never dream of. Children scratch themselves, touch the floor, play in dirty areas, and more. The types of bacteria they could be introducing to their bodies on a regular basis due to thumbsucking could be making them very sick in the long run. This type of bacteria can cause gastrointestinal distress, causing upset stomachs, diarrhea, or vomiting. If your child doesn't have to go through these problems, why should they?


Bad habits are one of the toughest things for anyone to break, no matter how old you become. While there are ways to do it, it's easier to break the habit early on in life or to never develop the habit in the first place.

Whenever your child sucks their thumb, they're reinforcing the behavior for themselves. They get a sense of comfort, which encourages them to do it the next time they're feeling stressed out or anxious, and the cycle repeats. Over time, habits like these can actually change the pathways in the brain, making it nearly impossible to break the habit. Even if your child doesn't continue to suck their thumb once they grow up, they could transition into biting their nails or fingers instead to satisfy that urge.

Children develop suckling habits due to the nature of breastfeeding, but that doesn't mean that sucking their thumbs should be encouraged or ignored. If your child is exhibiting this habit, discourage them from doing it. They will have better dental health in the future as a result and may be able to avoid a long treatment of braces as a result. To learn more, contact a children's dental care specialist near you.