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.