Does Thumb Sucking Cause Dental Problems?

It’s quite common and healthy for babies to suck their fingers, thumbs, or even toys. Emotional security and comfort come from object sucking, however if this continues after the age of five or six when the permanent teeth erupt, dental problems can happen. If your child is sucking their thumb often and for long periods of time the teeth can be pushed out of alignment and can create an overbite, your child may develop difficulty in pronouncing words correctly, or cause the jaws to be misaligned and the palate malformed.

Usually children have to decide for themselves whether or not they want to quit sucking their thumb before they stop the habit. Remember this act of thumb sucking is a security mechanism so don’t punish or scold your child to make them quit, it won’t work. Give them positive reinforcement and encourage them to break the habit. Reward them when they start to slow down on their thumb sucking, the younger your child is the more rewards they will need. If your child tells you they want to stop put a band-aid over their thumb as a reminder.

Pay attention to your child and try to find out why your child is sucking their thumb in the first place. Is your child facing certain stresses? If you cannot help your child break the habit we recommend you consult with a pediatric dentist who can recommend a dental appliance that is cemented on the upper teeth and sit on the roof of the mouth to make thumb sucking more difficult.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I think my dental implant is failing


I am a dental implant patient. About a month and a half ago I had the implant surgically implanted. I have been a smoker for most of my adult life and recently I quit because I was getting the dental implant. Then, last week I started smoking again. When I brushed my teeth I happened to notice some bleeding on my toothbrush and near my gum line. Do you think my dental implant is failing? I go back next month for the next appointment to have everything finalized. Do you think I should quit smoking?

– Tina in Ohio


It is no secret that smoking is bad for your health. It is also not good for your dental health. But, the bleeding is probably not related to you beginning to smoke again. Most likely, the implant site area is still healing since it was recently placed. You may have brushed to hard and that may have caused the bleeding. Although, dental implant failure happens far too often. The symptoms associated with a possible failure include pain, bone loss around the implant area, and mobility. It would be in your best interest to quit smoking for many reasons, including the increased risk for gum disease. Bleeding gums can be an indicator of gum disease, as well as bone loss. You should definitely discuss the bleeding with your dentist at your next appointment. If the condition worsens, you may want to get in for an appointment sooner than the one scheduled for next month so infection around the implant area can be ruled out.

Some patients are motivated by cheap dental implants which can also result in failure. Hopefully this was not the case for you and your issue is due to the healing process. For those reading, it is worth mentioning that there are over 200 companies that manufacture dental implants and only six companies have documented research to validate their safety. It is very important to research your dentist’s credentials and experience. Cheap materials and dentists that cut corners will end up costing you more in the long run.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Hylan Dental Care.

What is the best way to prevent dry-mouth?

Every morning I have been waking up with the worst dry mouth I have ever experienced. It is affecting my mood and my dental health. What can I do to help prevent this from happening?

Thanks, Pat

Dear Pat,

Dry mouth becomes more common as we age in life because our salivary flow decreases over time. Besides the aging process there are many medications prescribed for health reasons that cause a dry mouth as well. The best advice we can give you it to drink plenty of water and keep a bottle of water by your bedside to sip on if you wake during the night. If you sleep on your back you may be a mouth breather which adds to your dry mouth situation so you may want to try sleeping on your side. There are some products at your local store that you can buy to help decrease your dryness. Biotene is a common product that most use to help with this condition. Biotene products come in mouthwash, toothpaste, and gum. Chewing gum helps increase salivary gland flow however chewing excess gum is hard on our jaw joints. If you are experiencing dental health problems like tooth decay from your dry mouth ask your dentist to prescribe you a fluoridated toothpaste which has a lot more fluoride than over the counter pastes that can help prevent further tooth decay. Go to your dentist every six mouths for your dental cleanings as well as regular tooth brushing and flossing to prevent further dental complications.


This post is sponsored by Cleveland Implant Dentist Hylan Dental Care