What do your toddler and Emma Stone have in common? They both love to suck their thumbs. People can easily recognise the La La Land star for her disarming smile and low-pitch voice, but she did not always have perfect pearly whites like today. The 28-year-old has recently admitted that she thumb-sucked until she was 11 because she finds it comforting.
This resulted in her wearing braces for seven years; the roof of her mouth was very high-pitched and she gained a huge overbite. It sometimes hinders her acting career. Like Emma when she was growing up, parents should take note when their toddlers cannot seem to stop sucking their thumbs. Aside from teasing and a sore thumb, here are more serious cases thumbsucking can bring.
This can go both ways. Your child can thumb-suck with a dirty hand and he might acquire some infection or sickness because of this. The saliva can also spread a lot of germs to his playmates in school. A hand can transmit certain diseases such as the flu, the common cold and even parasitic infections.
Similar to what happened with Emma, consistent thumbsucking can push the teeth out of alignment, causing them to jut out and create an overbite. It can also make the upper and lower jaws to misalign and a malformation on the roof of the mouth. The Priory Dental Care states orthodontics is an effective way for dealing with overbite, underbite and crossbite problems.
Speech difficulties happen when a child continues to thumb-suck even after his permanent teeth start growing. It can also prolong the replacement of the tongue thrust. In more serious cases, the child may develop a lisp if they thumb-suck into their school years.
If you have a child over four years old who still loves to thumb-suck, do not punish him for doing so or it might cause stress and give him more reason to suck their thumbs more. Instead, explain to him its bad effects and they might stop on their own.