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  • weston kids dentist
  • kids dentist

For an infant, thumb-sucking comes as a natural reflex. About 85 percent of babies, a couple of months older, suck their fingers or thumb. Babies suck their thumb anytime when they are either hungry or sleepy. And did you know sucking their thumbs helps them to sleep!

But a lot of parents worry about their infants’ thumb-sucking habit. Somewhere, they are right to be concerned about it. Thumb-sucking is not harmful around the age of 2 to 3 years, but not later than this age group. Because after that point, vigorous thumb-sucking might cause irritation or damage to a child’s palate and the alignment of their emerging teeth.

Effective Ways To Stop Thumb Sucking In Infants/Toddlers

Here is a list of approaches that you can use to stop this habit:

You have to make sure your child feels comfortable, formally introduce your child to the dentist on their first visit. A good children’s dentist will explain each step to you about dental checkups. They will show their small tools to your kids in a fun way. And they will assure your child that they can sit on Mommy’s or Daddy’s lap and stop any procedure if they don’t like it.

Ignore the habit

Some children suck their thumbs to get attention, even if it is negative attention. If you think your child is doing this same thing, then ignore the habit and tell other family members to do the same. However, if your child still does not stop thumb sucking, then we advise you to consult a pediatric dentist.

Explain the importance of stopping:

Try to explain to your child in a gentle way why he/she must stop sucking their thumb. Because it is harmful to their oral health. and if you do not stop, then it may cause serious dental problems. For explaining these things, you can usually use some pictures to show them why it is necessary to stop sucking. But never try to pull the thumb/fingers from the mouth.

Praise your child:

Give them positive feedback when you see your child is not sucking their thumb or even leaving the glove or guard on the thumb. You can provide small rewards such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park. Stick some stickers on their calendar to record the days when your child successfully avoids thumb sucking.

Make an appointment with a pediatric dentist:

The pediatric dentist can place a small thing inside your kid’s mouth. This will help to hold the thumb slightly away from the roof of the mouth. And this might help stop the habit of thumb sucking.

Keep idle hands busy:

Give your kid something to hold/play with both hands. Engage your child in craft, hand games, turning the pages in a toy book. Because when your child is busy, he/ she will forget about thumb sucking. This may eventually help you to break your child’s habit.

Don’t be harsh:

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is getting worried about thumb sucking. Because of this concern, they will only be going to increase the negativity and stress level in the infant. In this type of condition, you have to use some gentle ways.

Use a finger guard:

There are many kits available, which are specially designed to prevent your child from thumb sucking. These kits are chemical-free and mostly childproof, so you do not have to worry about it.

Distractions:

Find out when your baby starts sucking his thumb. This would come in handy to identify the thumb sucking reason(s). In this case, you can use words, actions, and food to distract your child from sucking their thumb.

Summary

Many infants and young children suck their thumbs but most stop by the age of 3 to 4. However, some children will continue to suck their thumb even after they get older than 4. Vigorous thumb sucking can cause blisters, calluses, and other dental problems.

Sucking a thumb may help children to get calm and feel reassured after experiencing stress or anxiety. Addressing the causes behind thumb-sucking may be helpful to stop it. However, it is always a great idea to take help from experts like a pediatric dentist.

If you have followed the above tips and still didn’t get your kid to stop sucking his/her thumb, we recommend consulting a pediatric dentist at Sweet Tooth Weston we’d be happy to help.