Thumb Sucking and Teeth: Will My Kids Need Braces?

Thumb sucking is a self-soothing habit for babies and toddlers, and it is usually not concerning since kids will often stop doing it on their own—usually between the ages of two and four. But when children don’t stop on their own, many patients of our LN Dental Chester Hill ask us: When will this begin to impact their teeth? And will my child need braces because of it?

We usually assure parents that most of the time, when children stop the habit by age five, it usually doesn’t impact the teeth or jaw alignment. But when it goes beyond that age, it could start to cause problems.

Thumb Sucking

Teeth Alignment

The most obvious sign that a child is sucking his or her thumb is when we see movement of the front teeth. The thumb sucking causes the teeth to protrude forward from the constant pressure.

Jaw Issues

Thumb sucking can actually cause changes to the child’s jaw, with the upper jaw becoming more narrow so it doesn’t match the lower jaw. This means the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly.

Chronic thumb sucking can also cause an open bite, when the upper teeth don’t overlap the bottom teeth when biting down.


Protruding front teeth or an open bite can both impact the way a child speaks, causing a lisp that might remain until adulthood if not treated.

Thumb SuckingDuration and Frequency

The longer the thumb sucking habit lasts, the more likely there will be problems that need to be corrected with orthodontics. The amount of time the child sucks his or her thumb is also important. Some kids just suck at night while they sleep, while others do it constantly.

Parents might wonder if they should have introduced a dummy to their child to help in avoiding the thumb sucking habit altogether, but dummies can still cause jaw and teeth alignment issues—particularly if the habit goes on for a long time.


Contact our LN Dental Chester Hill for More Information

If you have concerns about your child’s thumb-sucking habit, we welcome your call to LN Dental. We can conduct an examination to see if there has been any permanent impact on the teeth and jaw, and we can talk to you about solutions to stop the habit.

To book an appointment, reach out to the team at LN Dental today! You can get in touch by calling (02) 9644 1499 or filling out a contact form. We’re open from 9 am to 5 pm all seven days of the week, so we’re here if you have a pressing need that needs to be seen.


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