In Babies and Toddlers, Blog, Pain and Anxiety Management, Preventative Care

Nearly all babies will suck on their fingers and thumbs as a form of self-soothing, especially when parents don’t use a pacifier. However, problems can arise when children generate real pressure in the mouth while thumb sucking. It will also become a dental issue if the child continues to suck his thumb past the toddler stage.

If your child is still sucking his thumb when his permanent teeth are ready to come in, he can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment with the rest. This can lead to future orthodonture or even speech defects.

To correct over-aggressive or late thumb sucking, first check for a definable cause. Does your child seem stressed, worried or over-stimulated? Does he only suck his thumb at bed- and nap-times? Does it occur when he’s distracted, or when he’s separated from you?

By addressing the cause of your child’s anxiety, you can sometimes correct the thumb sucking issue. If anxiety doesn’t seem to be a problem, the thumb sucking may simply be a habit. Be encouraging and reward your child’s successes as he attempts to “kick the habit.” Keep in mind also that it may take several attempts before the thumb sucking is completely gone from his behavior.

Still have questions? You can get more information from your pediatrician, or call today to schedule a dental check up for your child. Preventative care is available.

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