Thumb Sucking & Mouth Breathing

Effects of Children’s habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrust, mouth breathing, abnormal facial and jaw growth

How Does Thumb Sucking Affect a Child?

Thumb sucking is a common habit among children and is considered normal. The child usually outgrows the habit before he reaches the age of 6. Chronic thumb sucking, however, may push the upper teeth forward and the lower teeth backward, causing a bad bite. Thumb sucking also increases the risk for developing an infected thumb nail (paronychia), pinworm infection, and lead ingestion.

Thumb sucking also causes a condition called tongue thrust (the tongue protrudes when speaking or swallowing). The tongue pushes against the teeth, causing them to lean forward. Misalignment of the teeth and bad bite may happen as a result.

What Causes Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing happens when a child breathes through the mouth instead of the nose. Chronic mouth breathing alters facial growth and may cause permanent deformation. It may also lead to chronic middle ear infections, sinusitis, infections in upper airway, sleep disturbance (snoring). The reduced oxygen intake may lead to lethargy and fatigue. Chronic mouth breathers usually develop adenoid faces (long face syndrome). The nostrils are also poorly developed.

Abnormal facial and jaw growth accounts for two-thirds of orthodontic cases. Children’s chronic mouth breathing may result in abnormal facial and jaw growth, which in turn may lead to misalignment of the teeth. Corrective jaw surgery may be needed to remedy this.

Call us on (07) 4191 4787 for appointments. Our practice is located at 8/6-8 Liuzzi St, Pialba Hervey Bay QLD 4655.