There are many things a child uses for comfort, including their favorite blanket, teddy bear, another stuffed animal, or thumb sucking. In fact, between 75%-95% of infants suck their thumb. In most cases, there is no need to worry if your child is thumb sucker, but it is a habit that will need to be broken at some point. At Dr. David Suttie Dentistry For Children, we can help you child quit their thumb sucking in Napa, California, and avoid future dental problems. For more information, we welcome you to call us at 707-257-6453 and schedule an appointment with our dentist, Dr. David Suttie.

We care about your child’s first teeth and beyond, and that includes helping your child avoid future dental problems. If your child sucks their thumb, it is necessary for them to quit this habit between the ages of 2 and 4. This will help prevent misalignment and other issues that can come from thumb sucking.  However, there are some ways that you can know if your child’s thumb-sucking habit can cause dental problems, and our dentist will help you along the way.

First, observe how your child is sucking his or her thumb. If it’s in a loose way and the sucking is passive, then it is less likely to cause problems. If a child is aggressive and constantly has his or her thumb in the mouth, pressing against the mouth or gums, then it becomes worrisome.

During your child’s visit, our dentist will check your child’s teeth to see if the habit is starting to cause problems. In the meantime, here are some ways to help your child quit the thumb sucking habit:

  1. Like with any habit, helping your child break the habit of sucking their thumb can be tricky; however, if you approach it with praise instead of punishment, it will be of more help to your child. This includes replacing the habit with something else to help them feel calm and comforted.
  2. Create a progress chart that monitors when they are sucking and when they are not. That way, parents can note when their child does not suck their thumb and provide a reward.
  3. Observe when your child is sucking his or her thumb; if it’s due to social anxiety or situation-provoked, try and create a diversion that will help your child focus less on the habit.
  4. Discuss with your child what could happen to their teeth if he or she keeps up with the habit.

Whichever way you choose to assist your child in halting their thumb-sucking habit, always ensure your child feels comforted and safe. Instead of scolding them for sucking their thumb, offer another solution to their anxiety or fear. If you would like more information, call or visit us today!