SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – The sucking reflex is natural for infants, and often begins in the womb.
As your child grows, they may be sucking their thumbs for a purpose. It can make them feel secure, happy or they could be soothing themselves to sleep.
Once the permanent teeth begin to erupt, thumbsucking can become an issue. It could interfere with the proper growth of their mouth, and teeth alignment. Changes to the roof of the mouth could also occur, depending on the intensity of your child’s thumbsucking.
For instance, if your child sleeps with their thumb resting in their mouth, they are less likely to have severe issues than children who do so aggressively.
“If your child’s thumbsucking habit is showing a noticeable change in their teeth, consult an orthodontist,” says braces specialist. “The earlier you intervene, the better.”
Board certified orthodontist gives a few tips for San Diego parents struggling with their child’s thumbsucking habit.
Praise Instead Of Reprimand
Praising your child for not sucking their thumb may get a better response than scolding when they do. Children love affirmation, and they feel good when you are proud of them.
Focus On The Cause
Many children suck their thumb for a reason. It could be anxiety, comfort or insecurity. Look into the main reason, and see if it can be corrected.
Children love to be involved. If your child is older, let them choose a method of stopping. It helps them feel like they are in charge.
Let The Dentist Do The Talking
Visit your local orthodontics office and speak with a specialist who can offer encouragement to your child. Having them explain the consequences of thumbsucking, and possibility of children’s braces, could help.
Put A Sock On It
If all else fails, remind your child of their habit by putting a sock or bandage on their thumb at night.
Children should be encouraged during this time, especially if it is a comfort mechanism. It can be difficult, but with a little hard work your child can break this habit.
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