Pediatric Dental Guide to Breaking a Child’s Thumb Sucking Habit

Pediatric Dental Guide to Breaking a Child’s Thumb Sucking Habit from Parkside Pediatric Dentists in Concord, CAPediatric dental care covers every aspect of your child’s oral health, from preventative measures to corrective treatment. One of the most common efforts a pediatric dentist oversees is removing harmful habits like thumb sucking. Left unchecked, thumb sucking will push the teeth out of alignment, leading to issues like an overbite. Breaking the habit saves the patient and their caregivers from expending time and energy in pursuit of orthodontic treatment. Read on to find out the role of the dentist and the caregiver towards breaking a child’s thumb-sucking habit.

Pediatric dental care and thumb sucking

Many young children suck their thumbs to self-soothe and create a sense of safety for themselves. The action stems from a suckling or rooting reflex that is sometimes observable in the womb. Numerous ultrasounds show babies sucking their thumbs in their mothers’ bellies. The babies may continue this habit after birth as a way to soothe themselves when they are bored, anxious, or sleepy.

As the child grows, they may leave off sucking their thumb by themselves. This happens at six to seven months, or between the ages of two and four years. However, the habit can persist for far longer without intervention. Some children may continue sucking their thumbs into their pre-teens.

Parents and guardians should start intervening before the child’s permanent teeth come in, specifically between the ages of three and five. This gives parents a few years to reverse the habit before the permanent teeth come in. Here are helpful hacks that a caregiver can use to discontinue the habit.

The only way thumb sucking stops is with the cooperation and active involvement of the child. Work with the child to choose a method that reminds them to stop sucking their thumb with one of the following hacks:

Try placing a sock or glove over the child’s hand

This way, the child will come into contact with a mouthful of cloth every time they feel the urge to suck their thumb. The sensation will gradually rewire the child’s brain to associate putting their finger in their mouth with a negative feeling.

The parent and child can make a game out of the sock by saying an affirmation every time the child tastes the sock. For example, the parent and child can make up a catchphrase that makes the child feel all grown up. It may help to include a reward when the sock or glove stays on for hours at a time.

Using an appliance

A pediatric dentist can craft a custom appliance that acts as a substitute for thumb sucking or negative reinforcement. A substitute for thumb sucking has a greater likelihood of success because it offers positive reinforcement over creating a negative feeling.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Concord, CA

Get all your child’s dental care needs in one place

Our practice in Concord offers pediatric dental care for children of all ages. Reach out to us to learn about the team that will keep tabs on the health, growth, and development of your child’s mouth.

Request an appointment or call Parkside Pediatric Dentists at 925-504-4011 for an appointment in our Concord office.

Related Posts

Choosing The Right Toothbrush And Toothpaste: Advice From A Kids Dentist

According to a kids dentist, many parents are unsure as to which toothbrush and toothpaste their child should use. Going to a store and looking at the wide selection available can be overwhelming. In this review, we offer advice from our kids dentist as to how parents can ensure that their child has the right…

A Pediatric Dentist Explains The Importance Of Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy

A pediatric dentist is a dental specialist that helps ensure that children are able to keep their baby teeth healthy to avoid any future issues with their permanent teeth. This guide provides information on why baby teeth are important and how to care for them through good oral health.Healthy baby teeth help ensure the proper…

Reasons To Have Digital X-rays At Your Child’s Pediatric Dental Visit

Dental X-rays are essential parts of a pediatric dental visit. As a diagnostic instrument, an X-ray is used by pediatric dentists to uncover and highlight problem areas in order to investigate them further and develop an effective treatment plan. Continue reading to know when the dentist might recommend digital X-rays during a dental appointment.Pediatric dentists…

Related Posts

Things To Know About Getting A Baby Root Canal From A Pediatric Dentist

3 Things To Know About Getting A Baby Root Canal From A Pediatric Dentist

Wondering whether your child needs to undergo baby root canal therapy? Pediatric dentists are dental specialists for children, making it so many parents are choosing to take their child to a pediatric dentist to provide their child with any necessary dental services. Parents can ask this dental professional any questions they have that pertain to…

When Is Dental Bonding For Kids Necessary?

When Is Dental Bonding For Kids Necessary?

Dental bonding for kids is a versatile, minimally invasive treatment option for a wide range of dental concerns. Dentists can typically restore a child's teeth to full form, function, and aesthetics by adding a tooth-colored resin substance to the tooth surface and curing it with a special light. It is important for parents to know…