child sucking thumb changes face

How Thumb Sucking Changes your Child’s Face

Dr Devine Myofunctional Therapy

child sucking thumb changes faceServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Thumb sucking is natural for babies as a way to soothe themselves. However, children should cease thumb sucking by age one. Many parents find it difficult to wean their child from thumb sucking, especially since it cannot be taken away like a pacifier or bottle. However, prolonged thumb-sucking could have devastating effects on your child’s jaw growth and development, how their teeth erupt, and even how their face looks. So today on the blog, our myofunctional therapists in Nashville explain how thumb sucking changes your child’s face and what can be done about it.

Thumb sucking impacts jaw growth in several ways. Constantly having your thumb in your mouth keeps the lower jaw open, prevents the teeth from touching, and forces the tongue to rest low in the mouth. Pressure form the thumb also encourages a narrow upper dental palate, which may lead to crowded or crooked teeth. Most often, thumb sucking causes the upper front teeth to protrude.

What’s the big deal with a narrow upper palate?

The problem with a narrow upper palate is that it can lead to a narrow airway, making it more likely to develop sleep apnea. Most people are unaware that children can develop obstructive sleep apnea. Your child may have sleep apnea if they exhibit similar signs as behavioral disorders like ADD or ADHD. Children that perform poorly in school, are hyperactive, or have a difficult time concentrating may have sleep apnea.

Thumb sucking also encourages bacterial growth in the mouth, making it more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. It’s essential for children to keep their teeth healthy as they grow and develop. Cavities and emergency dental treatments account for hours of time missed from school and work and may lead to advanced dental diseases later in life.

What can be done about my child’s thumb-sucking habit?

The MyoBrace system can help curb orofacial myofunctional disorders, such as thumb sucking. The specially made oral appliance is worn for one hour a day and while sleeping. It also helps train the mouth, lips, and tongue to rest properly, which can encourage jawbone growth and help permanent teeth erupt in proper alignment.

How does MyoBrace work?

The MyoBrace system consists of four treatment stages. The first stage focuses on habit correction, which helps your child curb their thumb sucking. Habit correction encourages proper tongue movements and swallowing patterns. The second stage focuses on arch development. A wide dental arch is paramount for permanent teeth to develop in proper alignment or allow enough space to straighten existing teeth. Teeth straightening begins in stage three. In some cases, a child’s teeth can be straightened without the need for orthodontic care. However, some children may still require braces later on, although treatment will be less intense and shorter than without MyoBrace pre-orthodontics. Lastly, stage four aims to ensure good oral habits are retained without the need for a permanent orthodontic wire inside the mouth.

MyoBrace Provider in Nashville, Belle Meade, and Green Hills

If your child has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, they may be a good candidate for the MyoBrace System. Having an attractive smile and straight teeth helps build a child’s confidence, which can help them go further in life and means they will have fewer health risks associated with orofacial myofunctional disorders and crooked teeth. To learn more about MyoBrace near you in Nashville, contact Devine Dentistry by calling (615) 269-4209.