What can I do about my child’s thumb sucking?

thumb suckingMost children outgrow the habit of sucking their thumb (or needing a pacifier) between the ages of two and four. If you or your dentist are concerned that prolonged thumb sucking is adversely affecting your preschooler’s teeth, you can try the following:

  • Help your child feel more secure by offering more comfort and encouragement
  • Spend more quality time together
  • Engage your child in activities that distract from thumb sucking during the day
  • Wash your child’s hands often with a strongly scented soap
  • Put socks over your child’s hands at night
  • Invest in a night light if a fear of the dark is the root of the problem
  • Create a special ritual that doesn’t involve finger sucking for dealing with anxiety-ridden situations like being hospitalized or being separated from parents (carrying a stuffed animal, a favorite blanket, or a heart pillow with a lipstick kiss)
  • Praise your child whenever possible for “not sucking their thumb like a baby”
  • Ask your dentist about a substance you can paint on a child’s thumb to make it less tasty

Give us a call. We can help.

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