November 30th, 2018
Keywords:Truckeepediatric dentistry, Truckeechildren'sdentist
How Thumb Sucking Can Impact Your Child’s Dental Health
Many children suck their thumbs and fingers reflexively beginning while still in the womb. For infants and toddlers, it provides comfort when they are stressed and can help calm them when they are trying to sleep. Typically, children outgrow this stage or find a replacement object that provides that sense of security, such as a blanket or stuffed animal. Talk with your Truckee children’s dentist if you are concerned about the effect thumb-sucking may have on your child’s smile.
It’s a Hard Habit to Break
The longer the habit remains, the more difficult it can be to break. We recommend ending these oral coping mechanisms early by slowly steering them away from the practice and gently implementing other behaviors. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Take note of when your child tends to suck their thumb. Is it at a particular time of day or when a specific TV show is on? Provide activities that can distract them during that time.
- Does the thumb get popped into their mouth during a melt-down or when getting ready to leave the house? Offer alternatives to dealing with stressful situations.
- If your child is older and still resorting to thumb sucking, start a progress chart and offer a prize at the end of each week when progress is made.
- Use their siblings or other people they know as examples of people who don’t suck their thumb.
- Explain what may happen to their smile if they continue their habit.
Children need your understanding and support to put an end to their thumb sucking. Punishing them or pulling their hand out of their mouth could make them cling tighter to the habit and take longer for it to stop.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you are concerned about your child’s oral health or if you have noticed a change in their speech or tooth alignment, visit Truckee Pediatric Dentistry. We can offer additional strategies to help curb the habit.