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Thumb Sucking Remedies

Babies are born with a natural sucking reflex. For the first few months of their life, babies can find it comforting to suck on fingers or pacifiers. While this behavior is harmless at first, prolonged sucking habits that extend into preschool years can cause long-term oral complications in your child. Luckily, there are effective thumb sucking remedies to help wean your child of this habit.

The Potential Complications of Thumb Sucking

Children who continue to suck their thumb past the ages of 2 to 4 can cause damage to their palette or affect the alignment of their teeth. Alignment issues that affect the primary teeth (or baby teeth) will usually correct themselves. However, if your child is still sucking their thumb when their permanent teeth emerge, it can cause the teeth to protrude forward. This type of misalignment will require major orthodontic intervention.

How to Stop Thumb Sucking

The most effective thumb sucking remedies focus on positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Offer your child praise when they do not suck their thumb or pacifier. Another effective strategy is distracting your child when they would usually suck their thumb. Talk to your child about their sucking habits, and try to help them become more self aware.

Thumb Sucking Remedies

Never use punishment as a method to stop your child from thumb sucking, as this can cause anxiety and confusion. Methods like bitter-tasting coatings and covering their hands with mittens should also be avoided.

Schedule Your Appointment

During your child’s dental appointments, keep their dentist up to date on any changes in their sucking habits, and inquire about any potential thumb sucking remedies to help curb the habit. If you are concerned by any changes in your child’s palate or teeth alignment, we encourage you to make an appointment with us today.