Do you ever remember being told to stop sucking your thumb as a child? If you do, it was for a good reason.

When children suck their thumbs, it can affect the way their teeth, jaw and palate grow, causing misalignment, overbites and other dental issues. The follow-on effect is it changes how your young one eats and speaks. They also might experience discomfort or pain.

Speak impediments can include lisps and difficultly pronounces sounds and words.

Once your child has a habit of sucking their thumb, it is difficult to stop. Many children use thumb sucking as a way to comfort themselves and do it subconsciously. Some children even do it in their sleep. 

Damage from thumb sucking

prolonged thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is especially common in babies, toddlers and infants up to the age of three. After that, many will naturally drop the habit.

Breaking the thumb-sucking habit isn’t easy, but the earlier, the better. If your child uses a pacifier, it should be weaned off them as soon as possible or just used sparingly, such as during long car trips.

It is natural for children to suck their thumb or fingers as a soothing mechanism. For unknown reasons, some children never do it.

To discourage your child from sucking their thumb, here are some helpful hints:

  • Use gentle and kind language to remind your child not to suck their thumb
  • Explain to older kid consequences of sucking their thumb
  • Give them a toy to play with if they are sucking their thumb at times like watching TV
  • Praise your child when they stop sucking their thumb
  • Never get angry or discipline your child for self-soothing by sucking their thumb

In severe cases, we may recommend bitter-tasting medication to discourage your child from sucking their thumb.

At Kakar Dental Clinic, we understand our smallest patient’s dental needs and are here to support parents every step of the way. Visit our pediatric dentist in Tyson, Falls Church and we are always willing to answer any questions you have about your child’s oral health. 

Find The Best Pediatric Dentist in Northern Virginia

Tysons Corner, Falls Church, Fredericksburg and Manassas

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