When It is Time to Stop Your Child From Sucking on Their Thumb?

When It is Time to Stop Your Child From Sucking on Their Thumb?

Posted by Dr. Lee on Jul 17 2019, 09:13 AM

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex action that all kids perform at one point in their life to help calm, soothe, or lull a baby to sleep. However, thumb sucking is an involuntary action that kids just know without teaching. Even in the mother’s womb, fetuses suck their thumbs to get ready to breastfeed. Most children drop this habit around the beginning of their preschool; however, intervention might be necessary for some persistent thumb suckers.

Most pediatricians and dentists advise you to stop your child from thumb sucking or using a pacifier between the age of two to four. Thumb sucking during the early years is not a problem, although persistent sucking can lead to various problems in the future.

What Damage Does Persistent Thumb Sucking Cause?

Your child’s front top and bottom teeth might start protruding out with every hard bite on the thumb. In addition, continuous sucking on the thumb or even on pacifiers can prevent the front teeth from fully developing or erupting. This also leads to an open bite, causing a gap between the teeth even with the mouth closed.

An open bite can further cause speech defects, language delays, and chewing difficulties in the future. If the habit cannot be changed, they might need orthodontic support or other dental treatments to address the issue.

Help Out Your Child

If you notice your child go on persistently sucking their thumb, consult this with your dentist during the next visit. Below given are some of the methods that you can use to prevent this:

  • Give your child compliments whenever they are not sucking on their thumb or pacifier.
  • Ask your child to remove their finger whenever you see them doing it. They may be anxious about something, so talk to them and sort it out.
  • Reward your smile with a small prize like candy to appreciate their effort, not sucking on their tongue.
  • Make a chart for the days they suck their thumb and days they don’t. This will make them have fun to earn a good star at the end of the day.

Sometimes, even after trying everything at home, there may be times when professional help is necessary. Your dentist may give your child some bitter-tasting ointments and habit-barring appliances for greater help. Consult with your doctor before trying any harsh methods on your children. 

Worried about your little one’s dental health? East burn Dentistry and Implants offers expert dental care solutions for children by Dr. Daniel Lee and his team of experts. Call us at 503 2334871 or visit our website for more details. We are located at 1415 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214.

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