How to Stop Thumb Sucking Habit

Young children and babies learn to suck their thumb as a natural reflex. It becomes innate behavior because they had to suckle their milk to get nutrition when they were young. It is a self-soothing behavior and can stay with them as they grow. At first, this habit may seem harmless, but it can eventually lead to a changing mouth shape, which creates an overbite. If your child doesn’t break this habit before their permanent teeth come in, there is a chance that their palate may need correcting along with braces to straighten their teeth. 

Ways to Help Your Child Stop The Habit

  1. Use positive reinforcement. Always praise and reward your child when they don’t suck their thumb – this can be done through reward charts or gentle reminders. 
  2. Keep the hands busy and provide distraction. You won’t be able to keep your child distracted at all times, but this can work in conjunction with other methods. These methods can include: Arts and crafts, dancing, writing, jewelry making, sports, baking, baking, etc. 
  3. Thumb guards. Thumb guards can be a great solution for your child because it allows them to still engage in daily activities without much difficulty. The sides of the thumbguard have air holes so your child cannot create suction when trying to suck it. Your pediatric dentist may have suggestions as to what brand to use.

Always remember to praise your child and to not ridicule or make them feel bad for this behavior – the damage of doing this can be lifelong and could do nothing to help them. In order for your child to break their thumb sucking habit, you’ll need to keep it positive and upbeat to encourage them.

At Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we work with you and your child to break their thumb sucking habits. We know that once it becomes a habit, it is very hard to break. With the use of positive reinforcement, healthy distractions and thumb guards, we can help stop your child from sucking their thumb. Contact either of our offices and we will be happy to help you break your child’s thumb sucking habit and take care of their oral health.

Flossing 101: Answering Your Most Asked Questions

Flossing should be an integral part of everyone’s dental health routine. Your children should be flossing in addition to brushing to ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy. While many people know their children should be flossing, they still have many other questions about flossing. That’s why at Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Lynn & Salem, MA we have put together this list of answers to some of the most common questions about flossing.

How Often Should They Floss?

They should floss at least once per day. While flossing once per day is sufficient, the American Dental Association notes that flossing 2 or 3 times per day can be excellent for your oral health. If they are having trouble remembering to floss it can be helpful to leave a visual cue for them, such as leaving the floss on the counter or placing a sticky note on the bathroom mirror.

Should They Floss Before or After Brushing?

A recent study suggests that the order of brushing and flossing can have an impact on your oral health. This study found that flossing first followed by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste was more effective than brushing first and flossing after. The study also found that flossing before brushing resulted in more fluoride retention between the teeth. Although it may be best to floss before brushing, it’s important to remember that flossing at all is more beneficial for your dental health. Even if they floss after they brush, their dental health will be much better off than if they didn’t floss at all.

Can They Use a Waterpik Instead of Flossing?

Waterpiks, also known as oral irrigators, have become very popular in recent years. They use a directed, forceful stream of water to remove food debris and plaque from in between teeth. Oral irrigators can be very useful in helping people reach hard to get places in their mouth and make it easier for people with braces or other oral appliances to clean around them. There is some research that suggests that using oral irrigators can be more effective than flossing. However, we recommend that they floss immediately before or after using an oral irrigator to ensure optimum oral health.

Why Do Gums Bleed When Flossing?

The most common cause of bleeding gums when flossing is a buildup of plaque, tartar, & bacteria around the gums. This buildup can inflame and irritate the gums, causing them to bleed when you floss. However, bleeding gums can also be caused by periodontal disease, hormonal changes, certain medical conditions, and flossing the wrong way. If you have concerns about your child’s gums bleeding, you should have a conversation with your dentist. 

Hopefully we were able to answer some of your pressing questions about flossing. If you have any other questions about flossing or dental health, give our office a call at (781) 599-2900 or (978) 910-0004. We are always happy to answer your questions.