Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal, harmless habit among young children. The first coordinated muscular action that babies learn even inside the womb is known as the sucking. Many babies begin sucking their thumbs inside the womb of an expectant mother. Sucking also helps to strengthen the muscles of the baby when the baby starts to eat.

According to studies, more than 80 percent of babies and infants suck their thumbs. Thumb sucking is perfectly healthy, even if the baby’s teeth start to emerge and develop. When the child is still thumb sucking over the age of four, the damage of the teeth starts. Within this period, when an older toddler or young child continuously sucks his or her thumb, it can surely alter the shape of his or her jawbone or the roof of his mouth. Thumb sucking during toddler stage can lead to protruding of the upper front teeth, lower teeth that tilt inward, or a cross bite. The identified problems do not occur or damage with baby teeth, but only when the child’s permanent teeth start to develop.

The reason why a child sucks his thumb is due to an expression or a way to comfort, relax, or entertain himself. How would you inspire you child to stop thumb sucking? Offering a prize or also known as the reward system is the ideal approach and best way to get a little one to stop sucking his thumb. Reward the child for positive behavior. Research on why your child loves to suck, and then provide a new item to replace the habit. For instance, if your child sucks his thumb to comfort himself, see whether a stuffed animal or special blanket will present a suitable replacement. Some parents need to take more extreme steps and put their children in mittens to prevent unconscious nighttime thumb sucking.

Only you know your child, and what will work with him, however, Del Mar Highlands Pediatric Dentistry is always available to advise you and give you tips regarding thumb sucking. The key to stopping and encourage your child to stop thumb sucking is through positive reinforcement and not scolding the child, shame, or stress the child. This is a difficult habit for kids and parents to break, but the benefit of a beautiful, healthy smile is well worth the work.

If you wish to set an appointment with a Del Mar Highlands Dentist and know more about Del Mar Highlands Pediatric Dentistry, don’t hesitate to visit us. We will be happy to assist you when it comes to your kids.

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