Essential Baby

Can thumb sucking cause a lisp?

Melissa Compton

Sucking is a natural reflex in the newborn. It is very normal for some babies to suck their thumbs, fingers or a pacifier to soothe and comfort them. Sucking may also help them to fall asleep. This natural reflex begins to diminish around six months of age - the same time they usually start solids.

The need for sucking usually disappears by 12 months of age. However, for many reasons some toddlers and children may continue to suck their thumbs beyond this age.

Thumb sucking, if stopped in the early years, will not have a significant effect on the development of the oral muscles (lips, tongue, cheeks), on the teeth or on speech development. Prolonged, persistent thumb sucking beyond four years of age may cause the teeth to become misaligned.

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