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Does sucking your thumb ruin your teeth? © Getty Images

Does sucking your thumb ruin your teeth?

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Thumb suckers beware, using a dummy may cause damage to your teeth.

Asked by: Les Reeves, London

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Sucking a thumb or dummy up to the age of two is fine, but several studies have shown that beyond that, there is a risk that the front teeth can be pushed outward, or the side teeth shifted so that the top and bottom sets don’t meet. A 2001 study by the American Dental Association found that about 20 per cent of children who suck their thumb beyond the age of four have a misaligned bite.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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