Calluses on Children's Fingers Can Indicate Malocclusion, Study Says

Japanese researchers have established a link between the presence of calluses on children’s fingers—an indicator of finger sucking—and malocclusion.

If you think a young patient’s malocclusion might be caused by finger sucking, but you aren’t sure, you might want to check their fingers for calluses.

A new study published in the Pediatric Dental Journal identifies these calluses as a reliable indicator of malocclusion in children.

Finger sucking has been proven to affect dentition and occlusal development. However, according to the study, it is often difficult for dentists to determine whether or not a child has formed a finger-sucking habit. Study data suggest that the presence of a callus on the sucking finger is an indicator of malocclusion.

In 2009, researchers examined the fingers of 719 Japanese children, ages 0 to 6 years, who were students at 10 kindergartens in Sendai City, Japan to look for evidence sucking calluses. Among 2-year-olds, 13.6% were found to have a finger sucking callus and 11% were found to have malocclusion, the study says.

“Maxillary protrusion was detected in 42.9%, 56.2%, 42.9%, and 37.5% of the children with a sucking callus at the age of 1, 2, 3, and 4 years old, respectively. In those with maxillary protrusion, a sucking callus was detected in 42.9%, 75%, 75%, and 60%, respectively,” the study said.

Researchers concluded that dentists can use these calluses as “a useful indictor for malocclusion caused by an oral habit.”