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Author Topic: Does thumb-sucking really cause bad bites?
die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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One of the more legendary "old wives' tales" about infancy and early childhood is the one about thumb sucking causing bad bites.

Not to mention, according to a Rugrats episode entitled "Thumbs Up", the likes of such ailments later in life like:

    *"buck teeth" (which Tommy takes to mean "duck teeth");

    *social maladjustment;

    *poor character development; and

    *poor scholastic performance.


Does anyone know the truth or falsity behind the evils of thumb-sucking, notwithstanding clear medical evidence justifying the need for infants to suck their thumbs all the while?

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"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."

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Chava
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Of course thumb-sucking or finger sucking can mess up a child's teeth, especially if they are still doing it when the permanent teeth come in.

Thumb-sucking is not a character defect, nor does it cause character defects or poor scholarship as far as I know. If a fifth-grader is being ridiculed by his classmates for sucking his thumb in class, I suppose it could have an effect or his socialization, or it might just prompt him to stop sucking.

Chava


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HazyCosmicJive
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I can provide anecdotal evidence of my own experience:

I sucked my thumb for a very long time, until I was 10, in fact. My teeth aren't perfect, but my dentists never thought they were a big deal. In fact, despite a couple of crooked ones and a slight overbite, my childhood dentist recommended against me getting braces or any kind of correction. He thought the expense was too great for the "problem" it would be fixing, that is, he didn't think my teeth were a problem at all.

As far as the other maladies suggested by Rugrats:

* social maladjustment: A couple of other kids made comments when I was older (8-10) and still sucking my thumb, but I didn't care - I didn't like those bullies anyway. I quit when I was ready.

I wasn't particularly popular in middle school or high school, but I think that had more to do with the fact that I was a debate geek than that I had been a thumb-sucker in my childhood.

In adulthood, I'm the life of the party. Seriously, my social life now is terrific. So in my experience, even if there are social effects, they're certainly temporary.

* poor character development: Well, I don't think so, and neither do my friends, but I'm sure there are some people that might disagree. Same as anyone, I suppose.

* poor scholastic performance: I graduated high school with a 4.0 and graduated Rice University Cum Laude. You decide.

In fact, The worst part about the thumb-sucking are the memories of the incessant badgering from my parents about how horrible it is.

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Suddenly she realizes that amongst a crazy drunken schoolmarm, a navy swim instructor with a food fetish, a southern hick farmer, a porn star turned used car dealer, and a horny ex-football player, she won't be this strange outsider.


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*Astrik*
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You didn't watch the whole episode, it seems. The woman who made those claims is Charlotte Pickles and she always has dumb things like that to say. (She said the same thing about Chuckie's being left-handed) By the end of it, they finally found the page of the Lipshitz book they were missing and it said that thumb sucking would be a problem only if it continued "to an advanced age." Then they all looked at her because she was making dumb statements...again.

But, um, I had a huge overbite for years, not due to thumb sucking, though. I was always made fun of and I didn't do well in middle school through high school. Of course, by that time, I finally had a dentist who said I should have gotten braces a long time ago, despite what my previous ones had said, so there goes blaming my teeth for my poor performance.


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die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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quote:
Originally posted by Mazel Tov, Eternal Purim Fool:
You didn't watch the whole episode, it seems. The woman who made those claims is Charlotte Pickles and she always has dumb things like that to say. (She said the same thing about Chuckie's being left-handed) By the end of it, they finally found the page of the Lipshitz book they were missing and it said that thumb sucking would be a problem only if it continued "to an advanced age." Then they all looked at her because she was making dumb statements...again.

In matter of fact, I do recall seeing the episode in question. And yes, you are right about Charlotte being the one making those snide asides about the supposed ill effects of thumb-sucking.

(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)

--------------------
"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."


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the fragility
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This doesn't really mean anything, but I knew a kid (who completely ruined my childhood by constant threats followed by bribes to be his "friend") who sucked his thumb until he was about 11 years old. He was horrible as a friend, as mentioned, and had a D average in school. I don't know how he's doing now...
I'm going to say I don't know what to think on the thumb sucking relationship but just thought I'd put in what I've seen.

It could be a big coincidence.

Shrug


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june_miller
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quote:
Originally posted by Iludium Phosdex:

(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)



Ack! I would be extremely creeped-out by any infant I saw doing that! Child of Satan! Was your mother playing with a Ouija Board when she was pregnant?!


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Broadway Star
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I would imagine thumb-sucking could cause bad bites... but it really depends on the number and sharpness of the child's teeth...

Broadway"That joke will probably just crawl away and die"Star


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JK Will
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So can dummies (i.e. pacifiers?)
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All shook up Lizard
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quote:
Originally posted by Iludium Phosdex:
(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)

Ha! Interesting. My newborn does this all the time, and I've never really thought much about it, except that it's frustrating when he's fussy, and a pacifier would help him, only he can't keep the paci in his mouth because he's constantly pushing it out with his tongue.

Dizzy "little reptile baby - how appropriate! [Wink] " Lizard

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Mental Patient #673968759
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Iludium Phosdex:

(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ack! I would be extremely creeped-out by any infant I saw doing that! Child of Satan! Was your mother playing with a Ouija Board when she was pregnant?!

Hey my mom hates those boreds and i still have a toungue trust problem,....(although my toungue stuck out a lil bit when i smiled it wasnt like this: " wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles" and my toungue thrust is very bad [Frown]
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Runty
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quote:
Originally posted by Iludium Phosdex:
(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)

My friend has this problem, and she also uses her tongue when she chews her food, instead of her bottom teeth. She has a very strange tongue guard on her braces which is like long metal loops that hang down past the back of her two front teeth. I think it used to stop her using her tongue but she worked out how to get around it so the problem is now worse.
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Blue Suede Jam
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Why would sucking your thumb make you more likely to get bitten? Or are you talking about biting yourself?
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Mama Duck
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Iludium Phosdex:
(It may interest you to know that the most likely cause of bad bites in the young is not thumb-sucking in infancy, but a medical condition called "tongue thrust," wherein the tongue will move in and out like those of certain reptiles.)

My baby does this all the time and she sucks her thumb or rather her whole fist. (I think it's kind of cute. Mr. Duck is worried about her teeth. I point out that she doesn't have any teeth so it's moot point.) I never knew I should worry about the reptile tongue thing. Of course, I don't plan on doing anything about it. If she needs braces later, she'd probably have needed anyway.

--------------------
There is no interpersonal problem so big that it can't be solved with a suitably large amount of high explosives. ~ Bufungla

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Chava
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Mama Duck, your baby is supposed to be sucking like mad. If she weren't she'd probably starve to death. The concern is for 4 year olds or so.

I think tongue-thrust habit is usually developed by children who keep sucking their thumbs or fingers late. Braces can correct the damage, sometimes, although if the kid keeps up the tongue thrusting he may out-push the braces. But the teeth will go back anyway when the braces come off unless the tongue-thrusting is stopped.

My daughter saw an (get ready) oro-facial myologist who trained her to stop her tongue-thrusting. She had to re-learn eating, drinking, swallowing, keeping her mouth closed. Since my daughter was motivated, she learned pretty quickly and the orthodontist immediately noticed a difference in the response of her teeth to the braces.

I would guess that the kid who is working overtime to figure out how to defeat the anti-tongue-thrust dental appliance is not going to have a successful orthodontic experience. If you're going to go through all that pain and inconvenience (not to mention expense) you should be cooperative enough to have something to show for it when you're done.

Chava

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Dallandra
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My turn to add my 2 cents.. [Razz]
I had a freind, emma, in college ( or high school to u non new zealanders) who sucked her tumb still.. she had the worst over bite, and im not too sure, but i dont think it can be corrected now [Confused] .
Her thumb sucking was the cause of her bad teeth.

and heres a suggestion to scare ur kids out of thumb sucking at a later age...tell them all about the germs that they have on their hands that can make them sick! and how they're extream small and now matter how many times they wash their hands they cant get rid of all of them.(lol.. im gonna be such a bad mother.. always giving my own children nightmares! [Laughing out loud] )

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Cu411
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I sucked my thumb (well actually not my thumb, but my ring and middle fingers, until I was about 7, and right around that time, I was put in Gifted, and actually, it wasn't until Middle School (way after my thumb sucking phase) that I got my first C. And I was never a social outcast. However, I did have an overbite, and had braces, but there were many other non-thumbsuckers that had worse teeth, not to mention a worse academic and social life.
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Squeezie
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I sucked my thumb until I was 10 years old. By that time I had the worst teeth my orthodontist had ever seen. He said it was due to the way I sucked my thumb i.e. practically horizontal in my mouth so it pushed my upper teeth forward and my lower ones back. I had braces for 4 years and my teeth still aren't right 10 years later! I know when I have kids I won't let them suck their thumbs! [Big Grin]
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Driver
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MY niece sucked her thumb for a very long time and she has the worst overbite i've ever seen. She's a candidate for braces if I ever saw one..

~Nicole

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