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A member asked:

Can thumb sucking cause crooked teeth? my 3 year old still sucks her thumb, even though i've been trying to break the habit for 5 months now. i'm not sure, but it looks like her front middle teeth look slightly crooked and i was wondering if her thumb suc

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Many : Many children suck their thumb or fingers until age 2 to 4 years old. If they continue sucking (to include a pacifier) once their permanent teeth come in, it can cause problems with how their teeth align. If a child sucks her thumb really hard it can also impact her baby teeth. Because you believe that your daughter may be experiencing an impact from her sucking; i suggest you have her see the dentist. Pedodontists are dentists who specialize in working with children. Good luck.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
Important to note that, depending on intensity and duration, pernicious habits may cause bone to become misshapen as well as teeth to be misaligned.
Jun 11, 2018
Dr. Michael Farr
Specializes in Dentistry
YES!!: Thumb sucking causes a slew of dental problems. It changes the growth pattern of the upper jaw, flares the upper front teeth forward, pushes in the lower front teeth, and can lead to major dentoalveolar discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws. At age 3 it is not too late to work at stopping this habit before ramifications. By age 5, appliance therapy may be needed to stop the habit.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
Absolutely: Unlike a pacifier that can be thrown away, a thumb is permanently available. Please gently try to discourage the habit, but remember for many kids it's a crutch, and kid's can't understand the down side. You may need help physically and psychologically if habit persists past beginning of eruption of the permanent teeth. Again, be gentle.

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Last updated Jun 11, 2018

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