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Can Finger And Thumb-Sucking Damage Toddler Teeth?

Many toddlers love the comfort that thumb or finger sucking provides. They feel safe, secure and comforted by this small, seemingly harmless act. They often feel so comforted by it that we, as parents, are more concerned about making them stop rather than the potential damage it may cause.

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Thumb and finger sucking can be safe for toddler’s teeth up to a certain age range. In general, thumb or finger sucking is safe up to around the age of four. Children who suck their thumb or fingers will usually get what the general public calls “bucked teeth.”

This is when the teeth in the front of the mouth start to stick out and appear large and out of line with the other teeth. This occurs because children’s teeth are easily moved, and therefore take the shape of whatever object is placed in between them.

So, in time, you will find that the thumb or fingers fit like a lock in a key within the front of thumb-sucking toddler teeth.

If thumb sucking is stopped before the age of four, generally the teeth will return to their normal place within the mouth and appear less “bucked.” However, as the child grows older, the teeth move less easily and therefore may not return to their original position.