It’s certainly cute when your young one carries around his favorite pacifier or sucks contently on his thumb or finger. Although thumb or finger sucking may be a sweet and comforting habit for your little one, it can also create occlusion problems and should be monitored by your trusted dentist.
Thumb or finger sucking is no reason to immediately panic, but a visit to the dentist will help you remain aware of how the habit may be adversely affecting your child’s dental health.
The American Dental Association says that most children outgrow sucking their thumb or fingers between the ages of 2 and 4. However, some kids continue their beloved habit even after they begin preschool or even kindergarten. At this point, thumb sucking could negatively affect your child’s teeth, jaws, or face shape.
Ways to Break the Habit
Here are a few ways you can help your child break his or her thumb sucking habit to avoid future orthodontic work:
- Use reminders like tape over the finger or gloves over the hands
- Introduce reward charts to motivate your child
- Ease your child’s anxiety by being positive and encouraging
- Show your child examples of how their habit can negatively impact their smile
We Can Help
Dr. Field is experienced in helping children feel great while breaking their thumb or finger sucking habit. Here at our pediatric practice, we use “habit appliances” to assist your child.
A “habit appliance” is a small metal appliance that is fixed to the inside of the mouth. It is worn on the upper teeth and prevents the thumb or finger from touching the gums behind the front teeth. When the child is unable to reach these gums with their thumb or finger, their thumbsucking enjoyment diminishes and the child finds it easier to break the habit.
We have seen some patients break a child’s thumb or finger sucking habit in just one day after wearing one of our habit devices. Want to learn more? Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We would love to support your child and help them smile on without any distractions.