Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

In babies, thumb sucking is a natural and healthy behaviour. However, it can result in the development of a malocclusion once the permanent teeth start erupting.

Thumb sucking should not be discouraged in babies and very small children; it's a normal, comforting behaviour at that age. Most children stop sucking their thumbs when they're between the ages of 2 and 4. Until this time, thumb sucking is nothing to worry about!

When should thumb sucking stop?

Problems will arise if your child continues thumb sucking (or pacifier use) after the permanent teeth have begun to erupt.

If thumb sucking continues after that point, it can disrupt the normal alignment of growing permanent teeth. In other words, it may cause permanent teeth to grow into the wrong positions.

How can I help my child break the thumb sucking habit?

The thumb sucking habit isn’t usually too hard to break. Try the following:

  • Have your dentist or orthodontist talk to your child about thumb sucking, and encourage him or her to stop.
  • Praise your child for not sucking
  • Correct any causes of anxiety or discomfort for your child whenever possible, and provide alternative forms of comfort
  • Let older children participate in the habit breaking process

If the above methods don't work, additional measures may be necessary to break your child’s thumb sucking habit. Get in touch with Ridge Meadows Orthodontics today. We’re here to help!

Book your first orthodontic consultation today at myOrthodontist Maple Ridge.