The High Price of Thumb Sucking as a Child

5 horrifying results of thumb sucking addiction

Do you have a secret; I’m talking something that would be so horrifying if your parents decided to make it public knowledge at your wedding that you’d pull a runaway bride?

Well then since we’re amongst friends, I have a confession to make—as a child I was a thumb sucker! I’m not talking about thumb daintily placed in the mouth during deep REM sleep. I’m talking walking around, so prone, with thumb covered in slobber and jammed knuckle deep in my mouth!

It’s quite the unattractive visual, and as a parent, I’ve tried everything I can to deter the addictive behavior in my own children. However, I guess I’m not alone. Psychologists say that thumb-sucking is actually a comforting gesture that mimics the soothing, cared for feelings that baby felt when breastfeeding. Toddlers and children who continue to suck thumb do so to go back to a safe and nurturing place in time because it sends a rush of endorphins to the brain.

However, as a kid I was a chronic thumb-sucker. I did it in bed, in the house during playtime, in public, and even at preschool. You could not wrench my thumb from my pie hole under any circumstances. My parents, relatives, friends, and teachers all tried, but no amount of bargaining, flashy toys, or yummy cookies could get thumb unstuck from mouth.

The habit didn’t really concern me as a child; however as an adult my teeth have come to pay the price so much so that when I meet fellow thumb-suckers on the street they know we’re birds of a feather right away and claim, “Oh, girl, your teeth are wonky like mine. Did you suck your thumb into your teens?”

Here are some adverse effects that I’ve suffered as a result of my childhood thumb sucking addiction:

1. Shifting teeth

The bad teeth truth of thumb-sucking kids is a tragedy once they reach adulthood. The act of repeated thumb-in-mouth addiction actually causes the teeth to shift as they are still developing.

2. Crowded teeth

One common denominator in all thumb-suckers is crowding of teeth and crookedness along the bottom line of teeth that’s often revealed with smiling.

3. Overbite

Another unsightly result of thumb sucking as a child is my overbite. As a result of thumb-jammed in mouth, my lower teeth no longer matched up to my top teeth, which shifted forward to make space for my ever present thumb.

4. Bacteria reservoir

By that I’m referring to the pocket created in thumb-sucking mouths as a result of the lower teeth crowding together. This pocket becomes the ideal space for bacteria to gather and is difficult to cleanse out because of the position so cavities and gum disease can form in these areas if bacteria sit too long.

5. Jaw surgery

One drastic result of thumb-sucking is that some addicts have to undergo jaw surgery or cosmetic dentistry later in life to reverse the damage and shifting of teeth and bone caused by excessive thumb-sucking.

About The Author

Ashlee is a staff writer for Apron Addicts, a blog about kitchen fashion and home style. She also likes to write about family life, mobile technology, business, productivity, and anything else that catches her attention.