Stopping Thumb Sucking

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Does your child suck their thumb? Could this habit actually impact their teeth? The answer is yes, if a child continues to suck on their thumb beyond a certain age the way their mouth and palate develops can be affected. We would like to provide some tips on breaking this habit for your child.

While sucking on their thumb may be perfectly normal and soothing for a baby, you might want to start discouraging the habit around the age of 4. If the habit continues, teeth can get shifted out of position and could require corrective treatments.

A few ways you can discourage thumb sucking can include:
-Having a reward chart: You can track your child’s progress on these and set goals and a reward system. You should make sure that the goals are achievable and worthwhile for your child.
-Remove temptation: If your child is having a really difficult time stopping, you might consider putting something on the thumb to remove the temptation. This could be a glove or a bitter tasting solution that will remind them not to put their thumb in their mouth.
-Praise your child: Make sure you give your child credit for making the effort. Breaking a habit is difficult for anyone. No matter what method you choose, remember to use positive reinforcement. Criticism can induce stress which could lead to more thumb sucking behavior.
-For more ideas, please feel free to contact Provo Pediatric Dentistry.

If you live in the Provo, Utah, area and would like to make an appointment with Drs. Lund or Markham, please call us at 801-373-4200. We truly value your child’s dental health and look forward to helping them smile more.