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How to Stop Thumb Sucking In Children

Thumb sucking usually doesn’t cause problems with a child’s bite until the permanent teeth are in. At this point, thumb sucking can change the shape of the roof of the mouth (the palate). Thumb sucking after the permanent teeth are in can also affect the way the teeth line up inside the mouth (alignment). It should be noted that very vigorous thumb sucking can also affect a child’s baby teeth. A child who is still sucking his thumb at age 5 should be seen by the dentist.

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Here are some tips to help the child over four years of age break the thumb sucking habit:

Have a conversation about thumb sucking. . . Explain to your child that thumb sucking can affect the bite and may also cause the kids to make fun of him. Ask your child how he feels about that. Does he want to stop sucking his thumb? What can he do instead of thumb sucking, when the urge to put his thumb in his mouth comes on?

They want to see what you will do. They want to see if you’ll get angry at them. Or if you’ll sit down and have a nice long chat about thumb sucking, which is also a form of attention.

Arrange a chat with the dentist. Having the dentist talk to your child about how thumb sucking can hurt his bite may have more of an impact on your child than talk with you. The dentist wears a white coat and seems important. Your child may accept the advice he stops thumb sucking from the dentist. The dentist may also be able to fit your child for a mouth guard to help prevent thumb sucking.

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