Thumb sucking – it isn’t for dummies!

on : August 15, 2018 comments : (Comments Off on Thumb sucking – it isn’t for dummies!)

Have a child who sucks their thumb? We can help!

Babies have a natural urge to suck. This stems from breastfeeding and normally decreases from the age of around 6 months. But many babies, infants and children continue to suck their thumbs to soothe and comfort themselves.

The effects of thumb sucking are usually reversible until the age of around 7 (a good guide is when their adult teeth start to come through). If children continue beyond this age, thumb sucking may lead to:

  • dental malalignment (buck teeth)
  • speech issues (lisping)
  • emotional problems (anxiety).

So what can you do to encourage the thumb sucking to stop?

  • Relax – it will take time and perseverance to get the child to stop, and often, they will naturally do so when the time is right.
  • Determine the reason for this habit – emotional, comfort, sleepiness, boredom.
  • Give positive reinforcement and encouragement – praise, sticker charts, rewards.
  • Limit nagging.
  • Encourage bonding with a special toy.
  • Provide reminders – wearing a special device or bandaid on their hand.
  • Offer distractions – activities, cuddles.

If you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, please just talk to one of our friendly dentists – that’s what we’re here for! We would be happy to talk you through some strategies and ideas to help. For more information about thumbsucking, contact Fabdentaland speak to one of the team today.

Liz Ballantyne


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