Dangers of thumb sucking


As the image above suggests, if thumb sucking persists with your child, his or her upper jaw will grow in a more forward way, changing the appearance of the face, creating an abnormal bite, and maybe causing speech problems.

Here are some ways to make your child break the thumb sucking habit:

  • It is important not to turn it into a confrontation by telling your child not to suck their thumb anymore. Try to recognize and praise them when not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing when they are.
  • Talking to your child about thumb sucking is also important, in a way that you help them understand that when they are ready to stop, you will be there to help. You empower them to say “Mommy, I don’t want to suck my thumb anymore.”
  • Don’t prohibit your child if he tries to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. They need to be in this comfort zone, and by not letting them go there, you’re only traumatizing them more.
  • Practice self-awareness with your child by saying “Do you know you are sucking your thumb” when you see them do it. If they say no, help them recognize that, and find another way to soothe them if they needs it, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

If you have tried all of the above and at a later age your child did not lose the habit:

  • at night, you can gently remove the thumb from your child’s mouth while he or she is sleeping;
  • you can cover your child’s thumb with a bandage to remind them that they should not suck anymore;
  • if nothing works, there are appliances that can be put in the mouth of your child, by a dentist or orthodontist, that will stop the habit.



4 thoughts on “Dangers of thumb sucking

  1. Great Blog! In this blog, you have shared some useful tips on thumb sucking. Parents who are worried about their children’s thumb sucking habit will really be happy to read this blog. Most dentists say that thumb sucking is a natural behaviour for babies. Children usually suck their thumb when they are tired, bored and upset. Babies usually feel secure and happy while sucking their thumb. In your blog post you have mentioned some important ways to prevent a child from thumb sucking. Most of the children give up the thumb sucking habit on their own. But if the child continues to suck her thumb even after four years, it will be better to consult with a dentist immediately. Apart from the points which you have mentioned in your post, positive reinforcement is another effective way to stop a child from thumb sucking. In some cases a dentist also explains a child why thumb sucking is bad and what impact it can have on the child’s facial appearance. Thanks for sharing.

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