Help your child break the habit of thumb sucking.

Thumb sucking is a bad habit acquired by children, and it may be challenging for parents to break it. If not addressed on time, thumb sucking can lead to misaligned jaws and teeth. It is also not good for your child’s overall health. So if you notice that your child has started sucking their thumb, you should intervene and stop them immediately. It is essential when the child’s permanent teeth are erupting. The habit of sucking the thumb becomes very abundant at that time, and it can give rise to various dental problems, depending on the intensity of their thumb-sucking practices.

Many children stop the thumb-sucking habits on their own by the age of 4 years. If your child has passed that age, then you should stop them immediately, or else it can lead to serious orthodontic issues. If you notice your child has stopped sucking their thumb, ensure they do not return to the habit at the time of stress.

Why do children suck their thumb?

Children and babies have an instinct towards sucking, which leads them to put their fingers in their mouth. These reflexes might start occurring even before they are born. Studies have shown that the thumb-sucking habit makes a baby feel secure. It has also been noticed that children can develop this habit when they want to be soothed or while they go to sleep.

How can I help my child to stop this bad habit?

You should directly talk to your child, telling them that thumb sucking is a bad habit. You can also use the following techniques to help your child get rid of it:

  • You can use some positive reinforcement to help your child stop sucking their thumb. This could be anything, such as extra playtime, or a few extra minutes of bedtime stories.
  • You should keep a close eye on when your child sucks their thumb. For example, if they do it when under stress, try to find out the root cause and provide comfortable solutions accordingly.
  • You can also remind your child every time they start sucking their thumb. Do not scold or get angry. It should be a gentle reminder.
How can your orthodontist help?

Thumb sucking can impact your child’s teeth alignment. Our orthodontist at Parkland Orthodontics is experienced, and having a session with her can give your child the proper tools to eliminate the thumb-sucking habit. She may also give you a few tricks, like covering your child’s finger with something bitter, etc., which will encourage them to give up the bad habit faster.

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