Thumb Sucking

Digit sucking is a habit that occurs in infants. Children usually give up digit sucking by the age of four. If the child continues past this age, they may develop crooked teeth and a malformed roof of their mouth. This degree of effect on dental development depends on the frequency, duration, intensity, and position of the digit in the child’s mouth. This can also affect the position of the upper and lower jaw and can also affect speech.

Suggestions to break the habit:

  • Wait till the time is right (low stress), depending on child’s your maturity level.
  • Motivate your child (show examples of what could happen to their teeth and fingers/thumbs).
  • Use a reward system (small incentives will encourage your child to stick with it).
  • For 4-year-olds, offer to have them switch to a pacifier instead of a thumb or finger.  Very often just the suggestion to do this will cause a four-year-old to stop the habit on their own!