Lip Sucking in Children: Should You Tell Your Dentist About Your Child's Habit?

Dentist Blog

While thumb sucking may be a common habit with young children, some kids suck their lips rather than their thumbs. While this may seem a harmless enough habit, apart from the chapping and minor swelling it may cause, habitual sucking of a lip may sometimes affect your child's teeth. If your child constantly sucks on a lip, and you haven't figured out a way to get them to stop yet, then it's worth mentioning the habit to your dentist next time you take your child for a check-up. Why?

Lip Sucking May Indicate an Overbite Issue

Children with a lip-sucking habit typically suck their lower lip behind their front top teeth. While any child can do this, the habit may be more pronounced if your child has, or is developing, an overbite. This kind of malocclusion leaves more space behind the teeth for the lip to be sucked into, and some kids may suck their lips more if they have this extra space to play with.

Lip Sucking May Cause Alignment Problems

While lip sucking may not be as serious a problem as thumb sucking in dental terms, your child's habit may still give them some problems with their teeth in the future. This is more likely to be a problem if your child persistently sucks their lips, has had the habit for a long time and shows no sign that they want to quit sucking any time soon.

For example, severe and persistent lip sucking may give your child problems with the alignment of their teeth and their overall bite over time. If your child sucks their bottom lip behind their top teeth, then this habit can force the top teeth out and the lower teeth in, which may be enough to cause an overbite or tooth misalignment. If your child already has some alignment problems, then lip sucking may simply make them worse.

Mentioning your child's habit to your dentist at your next check-up ensures that your dentist can check for any existing or potential problems that may need treatment down the line. Typically, if you talk to your dentist early, then they will simply keep a watch on your child's teeth, factoring the lip-sucking habits into the regular checks they make. Remember that experienced dentists are used to dealing with oral habits and their side effects, and you may find that your dentist is also a good source of tips and information on how to stop your child from sucking their lips when you go into your local dental clinic.


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