Can’t Get Your Child to Stop Sucking their Thumb?

Can’t Get Your Child to Stop Sucking Their Thumb? Try a Thumb Guard

January 6, 2021

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As it turns out, thumb sucking is not a good habit for kids. It is harmful to our children. Beginning in infancy, children suck their thumbs to calm themselves. While parents rely on teething products and pacifiers to encourage calm and essentially manipulate their children emotionally.

The habit of thumb sucking can develop from this, but it can have long-lasting negative effects. Especially when the habit lasts beyond the age of four, there are results that can impact the child’s life in adverse ways.


If kids don’t stop sucking their thumbs, it can cause an overbite. Overbites occur when teeth are directed outward and cover the lower row of teeth. The child’s top teeth cover the bottom row even when their mouth is closed. This is called an overbite malocclusion.

An overbite can impact the shape of the child’s smile and even their face overall. In extreme cases, overbites could need extensive orthodontic treatment to correct the issue. It may also require headgear or alternative orthodontic appliances. When the teeth overlap, it can prevent them from being properly placed over traditional metal braces.

Open Bite

In addition to overbite malocclusion, there is also open bite malocclusion. This is when both rows of teeth are misaligned when the mouth is closed. When the top and bottom teeth are both directed outward, the child can’t close their mouth completely. Of course, this can require orthodontic work and could complicate their dental care in the future.

Stop Sucking Their Thumb

 Emotional Complications

Since thumb sucking begins as an emotional coping skill, if it continues it can damage their emotions. Not only will they not develop proper coping skills, but it can also lead to emotional stagnancy. When children suck on their thumb, it can make them more emotionally dependent at a younger age. Thumb sucking can become a legitimate threat to a child’s emotional development.

It can even cause social issues. Children who suck their thumbs longer than their peers can be the subject of ridicule. Despite that thumb sucking is a normal habit, it can cause psychological issues if continued too long. When children are ridiculed for their development, it can cause further developmental issues in the future.

Skin Issues

When a child sucks their thumbs for an extended amount of time, they create skin issues. It can give them uncomfortable rashes. Moisture can make the skin vulnerable to other problems. It can crack, bleed, and become at risk for infection. Thumbs can also become calloused. The moisture of thumb sucking may cause irritation and warp the thumbnail, which can cause peeling and ingrowth of the nail. One way to stop them from sucking their thumbs is to purchase a Dr. Thumb guard that prevents them from sucking on it.

Speech Complications

We have already established that thumb sucking affects the development of the teeth, jaw, and palate, it can change how your child speaks as well as the way they eat. Some of the speech impediments that are caused by thumb sucking are lisping and the inability to pronounce specific sounds. Dental care will be needed to correct this and speech class may be necessary to teach the child how to correct the way they pronounce specific sounds. Speech complications can also lead to other social and emotional issues.

Thumb sucking can change the bite of the teeth and, therefore, the way that the child eats. Improper chewing can even impact the way the child is digesting food and enjoying their sustenance. It may not affect the way your kid eats, but it is one of the many risks associated with sucking thumbs.

None of these complications will definitely happen, but they are all risks of prolonged thumb sucking. While it is typically harmless if the child doesn’t have teeth yet, once they come in it is time to change their habits and encourage them to use new coping skills. Your child has no idea why they are sucking their thumbs, but you should know that it is an inherent emotional coping mechanism that is all too often encouraged by parents. Don’t encourage bad habits, make sure your kids develop at a proper pace.

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