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Improving your child’s oral health includes breaking bad habits they may have. This includes leaving baby bottles in their mouth as they sleep, and as they age, preventing thumb sucking from occurring. Over time, sucking their thumbs can destabilize their teeth and even cause other teeth to grow in incorrectly or in the wrong position.

Thumb-sucking in your children begins at a very early age but becomes increasingly dangerous as their front teeth begin to grow in. This typically occurs when they are around 4 years old. Not only can sucking their thumbs cause their teeth to move and shift in their alignment, it can also hinder the growth of teeth, and lead to tooth decay and infections caused by new bacteria constantly being introduced to their mouth.

If your child sucks their thumb, offer up praise whenever they stop or avoid the habit. Because thumb-sucking is often used as a defense mechanism, help build your child’s confidence whenever possible. Although people may think that pacifiers should be used as alternatives to thumb-sucking, they also cause many of the same issues with your oral health. Another method that has been proven effective is seeing out their pediatrician, who can apply sour and bitter substances to their thumbs to discourage them from sucking.

For more information about oral health care for kids, and to schedule an oral exam with Dr. Brent Porter and our team at Brent J Porter DDS, give us a call at 831-459-9802. Our pediatric office is conveniently located in Santa Cruz, California. We look forward to hearing from you soon!