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How to Put an End to Thumb Sucking

February 2, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — brunerdentalteam @ 2:26 pm
A toddler wearing a navy-blue shirt is sucking his thumb

Even in the womb, some babies develop the habit of soothing themselves by sucking their thumbs or fingers. Thumb sucking can lead to many dental issues as the dental palate and teeth begin to develop. Overbites, open bites (the teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed) and speech impediments are usually the result of this habit. It is a good idea to put an end to this habit before dental problems begin. Below, you will find 3 ways you can help your child stop sucking their thumb or fingers and when to start.

Help Keep Home Life Calm

Thumb sucking is a way for some children to relax themselves. One way to quell this habit is to teach them to calm themselves is to lead by example. Encouraging them to have quiet times, take long nature walks, listening to relaxing music or closing their eyes and taking deep breaths whenever they feel anxious can all be very helpful.

Get Your Child Excited About Setting a Milestone

Encouraging your child to be excited about growing up is one way to appeal to their willingness to end certain behaviors. For example, saying things like “When you turn 4, you’ll be a big kid, so you can say goodbye to sucking your thumb!” Helping them get excited about being “big” and giving the understanding that they can’t be a “big kid” without putting this habit away can help them become more invested.

Keep Their Thumbs and Fingers Busy

A bored child my plunge their fingers or thumb into their mouths simply because they have nothing else to do. When you see them raising their fingers or thumb to their mouths, distract them by having them hold something with two hands. A juice cup, a book, holding hands or playing a game with hands can easily make them forget about their sucking habit.

When to End a Thumb-Sucking Habit

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that the age of 4 is the perfect age to begin encouraging your child to stop sucking their fingers or thumb, but some dentists usually recommend starting around age 2 or 3. You can offer praise and non-food rewards when you notice them trying to stop sucking and keep a sticker chart similar to those used during potty training to provide a goal for them to work up to in order to receive a big prize.

Regardless of what steps you take to end a thumb-sucking habit, it is a good idea to begin before their school years. If you’ve tried and nothing is working, your children’s dentist can help you come up with a plan of action.

About the Practice

Brunner Dental is a full-service dental office that is focused on providing every patient with a personalized, comprehensive dental care experience. The combined experience and knowledge of the team of doctors at Bruner Dental allows the practice to offer a wide range of dental care treatments. Their services include preventive dentistry, children’s dentistry and more. If you’d like help quelling your child’s thumb-sucking habit, contact the office at (765) 613-3128 or visit the website to schedule an appointment today.

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