Easy Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking in Your Children

Thumb sucking is a common habit that often starts in infanthood, but without proper action and guidance, it can last far too long, and create long-lasting physical damages your child’s jaw and tooth alignment. Plus, the germ factor of sucking on one’s thumb (or any fingers for that matter) can introduce unnecessary sickness to your child’s body. Listed below are some easy ways to stop thumb sucking habits in your children.

1. Bandage the Thumb at Night

Many thumb sucking timeframes are when the child is going to sleep—it’s often used as a self-pacifying technique. Try placing a bandage or sock over their thumb (or entire hand if using a sock) to keep any fingers out of their mouth. If your child usually subconsciously puts their thumb in their mouth while falling asleep, the texture of the bandage or glove should make them want to remove their thumb from their mouth as they doze off.

2. Be Consistent in Pointing Out Thumb Sucking Habit

When you catch your child sucking their thumb, be consistent in correcting them. If you as the parent are lax in helping your child break their thumb sucking habit, your child won’t take it seriously. Pay attention to what settings trigger the thumb sucking—is it when they watch TV, or when they’re playing alone? Monitor these times to be sure to correct them—and when you notice them not sucking their thumb in these settings, offer praise for not sucking their thumb.

3. Show Videos or Photos of what Thumb Sucking Can Do

Thumb sucking can have strong adverse effects on your child’s teeth, jaw alignment, and nails if their thumb sucking habit persists—especially if it persists once their permanent teeth arrive. If your child is nearing the age of permanent teeth arriving, be straightforward with them on what could happen to their teeth if they continue to suck their thumb. An overbite or “buck teeth” is a common consequence of thumb sucking once permanent teeth arrive. The consistent pressure of having a thumb pressing on the backside of your child’s front teeth will likely push them forward so they stick out at an angle. While this will hopefully motivate your child to give up the habit, know that if the habit remains, more serious orthodontic work will likely be necessary in the future.

4. Offer an Alternative Coping Strategy

If your child resorts to thumb sucking when they’re anxious, seek out an alternative action they can take if anxiety creeps up on them. Try offering them an object that gives them the feeling of security—perhaps a special stuffed animal or blanket that they can hold onto during these times.

5. Ask Your Dentist for Advice

Enlist the help of your dentist if you need additional help in breaking your child’s thumb sucking habit. Sometimes children respond more quickly to adults outside of their daily life. At your child’s next dental appointment, ask your dentist to talk to your child about the issues of thumb sucking, and have your dentist encourage your child to give up the habit.

Breaking the thumb sucking habit in your children’s routines is essential to their overall oral health. While in the moment it may seem to never end, the persistent effort will be worthwhile. Learn about other ways you can protect your child's teeth in their early years. Contact Dater Dentistry if you have any questions about other easy ways to stop thumb sucking habits, or if you want to request an appointment for your family.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Toys For Tots 2017

Once again Dater Dentistry has chosen to become involved in the U.S Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Program for the 2017 holiday season. Their mission is to collect new, unwrapped toystoys-for-tots-2017 during the months of October, November and Decembe

Tips for Switching Dentists When You Move

When moving—especially to a new state—there are many different things (aside from your own possessions) you’ll have to transition as you settle in your new location. One of those items is choosing a new dentist in your new town. By using online resources,

Fluoride Treatments in the Dental Office

Dental caries or tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that cause a clear sticky filmdental-fluoride-treatment called plaque that collects around the teeth and gums. Teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay without good oral hygiene and regular denta

The Dangers of Oral Piercings

Body piercing is a very popular way people express themselves today. Individuals may think oral piercing and tongue splitting are great ways to express their individuality, but they can be detrimental to your health. The health of your mouth and overall

7 Common Myths About Dental Care

There are plenty of myths about dental care. These myths are spread like wildfire leaving many misinformed about their dental health. Some myths about dental care can lead to fewer routine visits which can have negative long term effects on your health. Wh

6 Summer Treats to Avoid to Prevent Tooth Decay

As summer picks up, there are plenty of yummy summer treats that make their debut again. Although these treats are all okay in moderation, over indulging in summer treats can cause some substantial tooth decay. That’s why it’s important to understand what