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Thumb Sucking

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Thumb sucking is a common comfort and a way to relax for a child. According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb sucking between ages 2 and 4, before their permanent teeth erupt. Thumb sucking that continues beyond eruption can cause improper tooth growth and misalignment, and it may be time to take action to break the habit. We are happy to discuss ways to help your child overcome this habit.

Ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:

  • Always be supportive and positive. Rather than scolding a child when they suck their thumb, praise them when they don’t.

  • Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night. Remind them that it is not a punishment, but a way to help remind them not to suck their thumb.

  • Notice when your child sucks their thumb (watching a movie, holding their blanket), and create diversions during these times. 

  • If you notice your child is sucking their thumb when they’re anxious or want comfort, try to alleviate the source of anxiety rather than focus on the thumb sucking.

  • Use a progress chart and let your child put a sticker on it each day they don’t suck their thumb. If your child continues one week without thumb sucking, give them a prize. After one month, the habit should be broken.

  • Explain why it’s important to stop sucking their thumb. 

Remember that your child needs your support, patience and understanding during this process. We are here to help you break the habit!