Reasons why your child should avoid thumb sucking and ways to stop the habit once and for all, from The Smile Generation®

Does your child suck his or her thumb? If the answer is yes, then read on as this information could affect your child and your finances in the near future.

As parents, we do whatever we can to ensure that our children are safe, comfortable and happy. Sometimes this might mean distracting them with the TV or the iPad®. Other times it means letting your child continue sucking his or her thumb, even beyond preschool age.

If your child is around 6-8 years old and is still sucking his or her thumb, you may want to start encouraging your child to stop. This is around the age where permanent teeth are growing, and thumb sucking can actually lead to problems with how the mouth will develop.

When your child sucks his or her thumb, this puts pressure on the front teeth, pushing them forward and causing a malocclusion, or “buck teeth”. Other teeth can also erupt misaligned, and your child may even develop a speech problem. The roof of the mouth may also be affected depending on how aggressively your child sucks his or her thumb. Although some of these conditions may correct themselves once the thumb sucking stops, others might require orthodontic work and/or speech therapy.

So what are some possible solutions to help your child break the thumb sucking habit? Smile Generation-trusted dentists suggest any of the following:

  • Positive reinforcement like treats, rewards or distractions, such as a squeeze toy
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers that cause the habit to occur; stress is one example
  • Gentle reminders to refrain from thumb sucking
  • Chatting with a Smile Generation-trusted dentist who may recommend a mouth guard or other dental appliance

Above all, try not to put too much pressure on your child as this could be more harmful than helpful. If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, talk to a Smile Generation-trusted dentist near you; you can find your great dentist at Best of luck!