Thumb Sucking: Is It Bad For My Child?

child after receiving sedation dentistry

Does your child suck their thumb? Could this habit affect their dental health? The answer is yes, yes it can. Thumb sucking can be perfectly normal for infants and toddlers as a source of comfort but, as your child grows, their mouth and teeth can be impacted if this habit continues.

We recommend that you begin discouraging your child from thumb sucking around the age of 4. If your child is still sucking their thumb at the ages of 5 or 6, the alignment of their teeth could be off, which is called a malocclusion. For instance, their front teeth could jut out and may affect how their permanent teeth grow in.

It can be difficult to break an established habit. Many times, your children will break this habit when they are placed in situations where they figure out that this behavior is not acceptable. But if not, Drs. Nelson and White would like to suggest different ways you can help your child break this habit.

  • Praise your child for their efforts.
  • Have a reward chart tracking your child’s progress.
  • You may need to put something on the thumb to help your child remember not to suck on it.
  • Whatever you choose, make sure you use a lot of positive reinforcement with your child.

If you need additional ideas, you can schedule a consultation with Children’s Dentistry at 801-295-8322. Your child’s dental health is our top priority at our office in Centerville, Utah.

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Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about your child’s first visit or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson or Dr. White.