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Thumb sucking is a common habit among children, as well as common worry for parents and a pediatric dentist. Often there are questions about thumb sucking and at which age kids should stop this habit.

While thumb sucking is common and normal in children, there is a clear health benefit that comes with discouraging your child from sucking his thumb past a certain age.

Developing the habit of sucking the thumb or pacifier sucking is a natural manner for children. It is a normal reflex at this stage, and it often helps to calm a child or help them fall asleep. Habits often stop naturally before preschool starts. American Dental Association supports parents to start actively controlling the habit at the age of four.

The purpose behind sucking a thumb is that it can start to affect the child's mouth and jaw development, which can lead to problems such as jaw pain. It can cause permanent teeth of kids to be misaligned. More powerful thumb-sucking can cause changes in the palate, which in turn can affect the child's permanent bite.

If the habit of thumb sucking continued even after the age of five, the change in the mouth and the teeth may include the child's teeth jutting out and the inability to lower the upper and front teeth touch, leaving your children with an open bite.