Finger and Thumb Sucking in Children – Why Break the Habit?

Many babies and toddlers suck their thumb or finger. In fact, this is a perfectly normal and healthy way for young children to cool off and comfort themselves. Finger sucking is intentional at a very young age, but it can cause problems if the habit continues in childhood.

Most young children who suck their thumb or finger stop on their own before entering school. However, not everyone does this. For some people, this habit is difficult to break. However, it is important that children stop before their permanent teeth die, as this can cause permanent damage over time.

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Sucking on the fingers and thumbs can affect the proper alignment of the teeth, the roof of the mouth, and the proper growth of the jawbone. Prolonged suction can force the upper front teeth out. The level of disability varies from child to child.

First, involve the child from the start. Talk about and decide together and set goals and rewards for achieving them. Experts offer positive reinforcement and gentle reminders to encourage. Often times, children suck their thumbs when they are worried or stressed.

And don't be afraid to ask your dentist for help. She can explain the importance of breaking the habit, and some children will respond better to other adults than to boring moms and dads.

If you've tried everything and your child still can't let go of the habit, there are alternatives like mouthwash or nail polish that taste bitter. They're great for some kids, and you know what's best for yours. Choose the method that works best for him.