I found some information online not too long ago from a Medical History journal that had a very interesting viewpoint on thumb sucking. Apparently, in the early 1900’s, thumb sucking in children was considered a brain disease and a neurological disorder! How crazy is that? Clearly that sounds ridiculous now and we know that thumb sucking is simply a habit that many children have a hard time breaking.
It is important for parents to realize that thumb sucking is not something that can damage a child psychologically for life, but instead is something that you can help and encourage them to put an end to.
Even though it is absolutely by no means a brain disease, it can have lasting effects on your child’s mouth, bite, jaw or teeth.
Consequences of continual thumb sucking can include:
-Changes in the pallet of the mouth which could result in a cross bite in your child’s mouth.
-The prevention of front teeth from coming in completely, which will significantly alter your child’s bite.
-Creating a “rabbit tooth” or “buck tooth” effect in your child’s mouth that will remain unless fixed by orthodontics.
-Weakening in their chins or jaws.
Things in the 1900’s were incredibly different than they are today. This clearly includes ideas and opinions in the medical field. So don’t worry, your child does not have a neurological disorder if they are thumb suckers. But what they might be doing is causing permanent damage to their mouths. Getting your child to stop sucking their thumb sooner than later is definitely recommended.