5 Super Helpful Tips To Help Stop Your Child’s Thumb Sucking Habit

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5 Tried and True Tips to Kick that Thumb Sucking Habit for Good

Thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers is a natural reflex for children according to The American Dental Association. And Colgate agrees, suggesting that the habit is healthy in infants, toddlers, and even preschoolers, and serves as a coping and comfort mechanism that is part of normal development. Thumb sucking can induce sleep, so a lot of children who suck their thumbs may fall asleep on their own accord. The Mayo Clinic states that many children stop sucking their thumbs on their own sometime during the toddler years — between ages 2 and 4. Thumb sucking serves a purpose up until a certain point.

thumb suckingBut, there will come a time that thumb sucking becomes detrimental to your child’s oral health. If it continues beyond the age of 5, when the permanent teeth begin to come in, dental problems in children who suck their thumbs can start to present themselves. These problems could include:

  • Teeth being pushed out of alignment, possibly creating abnormal bites
  • Mispronunciation of words due to lisps
  • Both the upper and lower jaws becoming misaligned causing the roof of the mouth to become malformed.

This habit formed in infancy needs to be broken in early childhood. It doesn’t have to be as stressful and tricky as you might think.

5 Super Helpful Tips To Help Stop Your Child’s Thumb Sucking Habit

Here are some tried and true tricks and tips to help your child get over the need to suck their thumbs:

  • If your child is feeling insecure or needing to be comforted, focus on rectifying the cause of the apprehension and give your child some extra snuggles.
  • For an older child, let them help determine a solution with you. If they can feel “big” enough to take on the responsibility, they will feel “big” enough to handle it.
  • Establish a chart and reward system to track your child’s progress. Let them put on stickers and stamps or draw smiley faces on their charts.
  • Praise your child for their effort and never chastise them when they have a “relapse”. This is one of the toughest things they will have experienced in life so far.
  • Visit your child’s dentist to learn about other tips and positive reinforcements.

Your dentist is a huge resource who can offer encouragement to your child and explain why it’s so important to stop the thumb sucking habit. We are well versed in helping kids kick the habit. If you’re needing help helping your child, give us a call at (978)757-2210. We want nothing more than for your child to succeed in all that they do. Let’s start by giving them their best smile possible!