If you’re concerned about thumb sucking, you’re not alone!
New parents often worry about every growth milestone and the behaviors that their children exhibit. If you’re concerned about thumb sucking, you’re not alone. It’s not even a new worry. Years ago, home remedies such as using quinine were highly recommended to keep young children from sucking their thumb because they believed it ruined the shape of their mouth.
There is a bit of truth to that. According to the American Dental Association, constant, prolonged thumb sucking can alter the shape of a child’s teeth and cause damage to their oral health. They do also stipulate that it’s normal behavior for young babies. This is a coping mechanism that’s very common. Allowing your baby to suck their thumb or use a pacifier is a normal transition. When the child is weaned from this behavior at the appropriate age, it often causes no damage at all.
How Do You Ween Children From Thumb Sucking?
According to Colgate, you should help your child break the habit by the age of four. Most children will naturally stop this behavior as they age.
If you’re concerned about thumb sucking and would like to break the habit, here are some steps you can try:
- Mittens and Pacifiers. Pacifiers can often be an easier habit to break later because they can be taken away. You can also use mittens and onesies that are made to cover their hands to keep them from putting fingers in their mouths.
- Use a Reward System. For toddlers, a reward system can be helpful. This might include a sticker chart or verbal praise.
- Talk to Your Dentist. Your dentist can recommend the best approach to your child’s thumb-sucking habit. They can evaluate the child’s bite and may recommend products to put on the fingers or, in some cases, appliances to correct the bite.
If you’re concerned about your child’s oral health or would like to come in for a regular check-up, contact us today!