Did you know that thumbsucking is one of the top ten concerns of people who visit the American Dental Association's website mouthhealthy.org? Thumbsucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world. Young children may also suck to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep.
After the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. Some aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby teeth so be sure to go in for regular dental visits and check with your dentist f you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or are concerned about your child’s thumbsucking.
Tips for helping your child stop thumbsucking:
- Praise your child for not sucking.
- Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
- For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
- Your dentist can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.
If the above tips don’t work, remind the child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. Your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance.
Info from www.mouthhealthy.org