A Habit from Birth
Thumb-sucking comes naturally to children. It is a reflex. Babies suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, etc. to achieve a feeling of security and comfort. Children suck their thumb and other objects to learn more about the world. Young children often suck to self-soothe when upset or to help them to fall asleep.

Potential Problems
By about two to four years of age, most children stop sucking their thumb on their own. However, if your child continues to suck his or her thumb as the permanent teeth begin to come in, problems can occur. Thumb-sucking can cause issues with the growth of the roof of your child’s mouth. This habit can also cause teeth to come in crooked. Buck teeth are a common result of prolonged thumb-sucking. When a child simply rests their thumb in their mouth, future dental problems are less likely than if they suck their thumb vigorously.

Tips to Break the Habit
Encourage your child and offer rewards for not thumb-sucking, rather than punishment for thumb-sucking. Rewards will help your child’s self-esteem. Children who continue to suck their thumbs often have anxiety or self-esteem problems, so punishment and criticism may cause more harm than good. Focus on comforting your child and correcting the cause of their anxiety. Some parents put a bitter-tasting liquid on their child’s thumbnails or put mittens on their child before bed to discourage thumb-sucking. If these methods do not work, ask your child’s dentist for advice.

Call Now Button