Thumb sucking can be a difficult habit for children to break. Children form this habit because they have natural rooting or sucking reflexes. This reflex makes them feel secure and can sooth stress. However, it is important that you help your child break this habit, otherwise it may still be present when a child’s permanent teeth come in.
If they are still sucking their thumb when their teeth come in, the roof of their mouth and how the teeth line up may be affected. Some experts recommend addressing this habit before the age of 3. So, here are some things you can do to break the habit before recovery options become limited.
Use Positive Reinforcement: Give small rewards or give praise when they aren’t sucking their thumb. Setting attainable goals, such as no thumb sucking before bed, can also help break the habit.
Identify triggers: Figuring out why your child sucks their thumb could be a great solution to the problem. Identify what triggers them and how you can provide comfort in other ways when they feel they need to suck their thumb is essential.
Gentle Reminders: Gently remind your child that this isn’t the right thing to do. Remember, avoid scolding them or ridiculing them, as they probably don’t know this is the wrong thing to do.
Typically, children will break this habit before it becomes too serious enough to affect their tooth line. However, if you are still experiencing issues, feel free to reach out to us at 502.897.1112.