How thumb-sucking can be detrimental for children’s oral health.

According to the British Orthodontic Society, if the thumb sucking habit stops by the age of seven then teeth can often correct themselves with normal growth. However, evidence suggests that one in every eight children between the ages of seven and eleven have a prolonged digit sucking habit. If the habit continues beyond the age of seven, then the position of the adult teeth can be permanently affected, and self-correction is less likely to occur. This makes it all the more important that thumb sucking is stopped in its tracks at an early age.

As the British Orthodontic Society has shown, if thumb sucking becomes a long-term habit the impact on oral health can be severe and long-term. Problems which can arise include a crossbite, an anterior open bite, misshapen palette and even difficulty with chewing.

And it is not just the British Orthodontic Society who have acknowledged the impact of thumb sucking on oral health. There is a growing body of evidence from a wide array of sources.

Iranian experts have noted that thumb sucking can lead to significant complications such as speech impairment, irregularities in teeth, malocclusion, intra-oral ulcers.

In the US, the National Institutes of Health has said that anterior open bite and posterior cross bite are the most frequent malocclusions associated with prolonged sucking habits.

Why good oral health is so important for young children

Research by the Oral Health Foundation has found that over half of UK adults (51%) said that they’d taken their oral health for granted when they were younger. It highlights the importance of equipping our children with the tools to maintain a healthy mouth but also taking the time to educate them on why it’s so important.

By instilling good oral health in children from a young age you can set them up with a healthy smile for life. A healthy smile is one of the best gifts an adult can give their child which not will not only save them from painful treatments down the line but could also boost their confidence and self-esteem.

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