Will sucking your thumb as a child cause “buck teeth”?
Parents see their children sucking their thumb and may ask, “Will this cause problems later?” Thumb and finger sucking is a common behavior among children under 5 years of age. Thumb sucking normally does not cause a problem for young children and most children stop on their own.
However, thumb sucking beyond the age of 5, when permanent teeth start to come in, can cause problems. Thumb sucking after age 5 may affect the shape of the child’s mouth and palate and can change the relationship between the child’s upper and lower jaw. This may cause the upper teeth to protrude and be more prominent. In some cases thumb sucking can even lead to an “open bite” where the front teeth do not correctly align in the middle, leaving a gap.
Through the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, UAMS provides a hospital-based dental clinic for children and young adolescents. Our dental clinic can examine your child and suggest the best treatment for an “open bite” or other issues.
To learn more about the personalized care provided by our doctors using state-of-the-art equipment and technology, please visit our medical services section.