Consequences of Thumb Sucking

From infancy, children use sucking behaviors to calm themselves and to bring back the familiarity of breastfeeding. As children get older, they stop using pacifiers and begin sucking on their thumb. At East Village Dental Centre, our dentists in Chicago are warning parents about the consequences of thumb sucking.

The most serious permanent side effects of thumb sucking are types of dental malocclusion. Dental malocclusion are classified as when you can clearly see tooth misalignment when the mouth is closed. Two of the most common types of malocclusions caused by thumb sucking in children are an open bite and an overbite.

Open Bite

A child may have an open bite if their top and bottom teeth become directed outward. An open bite can be corrected with orthodontic correction once your child has stopped sucking their thumb.


Overbites occur when the upper front teeth become directed outward. When the child’s mouth is closed, the top teeth cover the bottom teeth, rather than the top and bottom teeth touching. Overbites can be treated by an orthodontist in your area.

Stop Thumb Sucking

Besides these two dental malocclusions, thumb sucking can lead to your child getting sick often since they are constantly putting germs in their mouth. Some tricks to stop your child from sucking their thumb are to put bitter on their thumb so that it tastes bad when they go to suck it. Another trick is to have your child wear gloves when they’re sleeping so that they are not tempted to suck their thumb.

If your child has shifted their teeth due to sucking their thumb, schedule an appointment at East Village Dental Centre, where we can start a treatment plan.

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East Village Dental Centre

901 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

(773) 278-6622

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