Your Children's Dentist - Thumb Sucking

A Most Common Habit: Thumb Sucking

What's the most common thing nearly half of American toddlers do when they're teething and tired, relaxing, sleeping or being scolded? They suck their thumbs!

Thumb-sucking is the earliest and most common habit among children. It's nothing for parents to worry about—unless the habit persists. Only after age four does thumb-sucking threaten to damage children's teeth.

Some thumb-suckers simply rest the thumb in the mouth, sucking only at certain times. Others work at the habit, and can displace teeth severely. If, when you remove the thumb from your child's mouth you hear a "popping," it signals a great deal of pressure on the teeth that may cause an overbite or underbite. If the child is over four, you may want to discuss the habit with an orthodontist.

To help break a child of thumb-sucking, parents should;

  • Avoid punishing the child
  • Provide play materials to occupy the child's hands
  • Keep supervision to a minimum
  • Keep the home environment happy

One of the worst approaches is parental pressure — it can have a negative effect. On the other hand, peer pressure often works well, encouraging the child to imitate "grown-up" behavior.

Sometimes an orthodontic appliance can prevent or replace a thumb-sucking habit. Once a child becomes accustomed to the appliance, he or see may no longer interested in thumb-sucking.

The first step is to determine when and why a child is thumb-sucking. Your family or pediatric dentist has had lots of experience. Give them a call—they may be able to help.

 Call for an appointment:
(936) 242-0319

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Conroe Comprehensive Dental Center
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Timothy E. Gardner

Seth A. Harris

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Conroe Comprehensive Dental Center
2210 North Frazier Street, Suite 120
Conroe, TX 77303
General Info: (936) 242-0319
Montgomery Comprehensive Dental Center
951 Lone Star Parkway
Montgomery, TX 77356
General Info: (936) 585-6611