When children are young they are known suck on everything they get their hands on. A natural habit is for kids to suck on their thumb. Sucking on objects makes babies secure and happy and to help them learn about the world. This is a soothing thing to do but did you know that thumbsucking can cause permanent teeth damage?
As new teeth are coming in and a child continues to suck their thumb, problems can arise with growth and alignment. Changes in the roof of the mouth can also occur. Pacifiers can cause problems too, but it is an easier habit to break. The intensity of the sucking will determine if dental problems will occur. Continuous and intense thumbsuckers could develop problems with their primary “baby” teeth as well as their permanent “adult” teeth. Thumbsucking should stop around the ages 2-4 or when the permanent front teeth are ready to come in.
Here are some tips to stop thumbsucking…
- When your child does not suck their thumb make sure you praise them.
- Children suck their thumbs when they need comfort or relief so focus on their cause of anxiety and try to fix it.
- If the child is older, let them get involved in how you are going to stop this bad habit.
- Have your dentist encourage your child to stop thumbsucking and make them aware of the consequences on their teeth if they do not stop sucking.
- If the tips are not working put a sock or bandage on your child’s hands at night.
- A dentist or pediatrician can also prescribe a medication that is applied to the thumbs that makes them taste bitter.
If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or need more tips on how to stop thumbsucking give us a call at 610-489-5555!