Thumb Sucking

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Thumb or finger sucking are habits that occurs in infants. Children usually give up thumb-sucking by the age of four. If the child continues past the age when their permanent teeth start to erupt, they may develop crooked teeth and a malformed roof of their mouth. This results from the frequency, duration, intensity and position of the thumb in the child’s mouth. This can also effect the position of the upper and lower jaw and can also affect speech.

Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist. Ask us about the book, “David Decides”, and a product called Mavala.

Breaking the Habit

  1. Wait till the time is right. (low stress)
  2. Motivate your child (show examples of what could happen to their teeth, and fingers/thumbs.)
  3. Use a reward system. (small incentives will encourage your child to stick with it!)