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Aug 23rd, 2011 City of London dentists help parents wean their children off thumb sucking Get in touch

It is a common habit of young children to suck their thumb. This does not always happen only at night, sometimes young children do so during the day as well. It truly does become a habit and it can be very difficult to stop doing it. But it is necessary, as a parent to try and get your child away from thumb sucking by a certain age so that it does not have an adverse effect on the way their teeth develop.

Sucking your thumb night after night (or day after day) affects the way that your teeth are positioned. Essentially the commonest form of this is when the front teeth are pushed outwards by the frequent presence of the thumb. Having teeth which are misaligned in this way can have consequences for the oral health of the patient.

Not only do misaligned teeth not look as good as teeth which are straight and in line with one another, there can be other complications. The act of grinding one’s teeth during sleep is called bruxism and dentists have found a link between misaligned teeth and the condition. Bruxism itself can cause the erosion of tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and also complications with the temporomandibular joint (usually shortened to the TMJ). Teeth which are too bunched up in one place can also lead to cavities because it is harder to clean them properly, ye t plaque can still affect them.

The consequences of all this may be that a young person has to wear a brace because of the effects of sucking their thumb. If you are looking for tips as to gently wean your child away from thumb sucking, your City of London dentist might be able to help, or you can consult a child care specialist in your area.

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