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baby sucking his thumb

The risks and complications of prolonged thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is a common and natural phenomenon that occurs from birth until early infancy.
However, this habit is typically eliminated by 6-7 months of age, as the sucking reflex subsides. If this habit is not eliminated, and your child continues to suck their thumb during toddler and school-aged years, there are oro-facial changes expected to take place. Finger sucking has been known to cause an asymmetrical anterior open bite. In fact, a study done by Lopez Freire et al., showed that children with a history of finger sucking had malocclusion 4.25 times higher than kids without a history of it. In addition to causing malocclusions, thumb sucking can perpetuate the anterior motion of the tongue, which is considered to be a deficient swallowing
pattern. The tongue is a huge contributing factor to the development of the palate, jaw, and dental occlusion. When an anterior motion of the tongue is present, a high narrow palate and/or dental malocclusion can develop as a result. The Spot Pal appliance deters thumb sucking, as well as eliminates the tongue’s ability to thrust forward during swallows, while establishing proper tongue function. This appliance can help retrain the tongue’s patterns to reverse the abnormal anterior motion caused by thumb sucking.

Gutierrez, D. S. (2023, May 8). Thumb sucking. StatPearls [Internet].