Ways to Cure Your Child’s Thumb Sucking Habit

4 Aug

How it affects your child’s teeth:

The top teeth overlap the bottom teeth in a normal bite. In children with chronic thumb sucking habits, an open space starts to form between the upper and lower front teeth when fully closing on the back teeth. This can cause tension in the jaw joints, headaches and difficulty speaking or chewing.

How to Overcome the Habit:

Never use negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is best. The best way to halt your child’s progression in quitting the habit is to tell them NOT to do it. Try rewarding your child when they do not thumb suck, rather than penalizing them when they do it.

Use Bad Tasting Fluids. There are liquids you can buy that can be placed on the thumb as a reminder not to suck their thumb. Although this method is deemed questionable by some health care professionals, it can be an effective method to break the habit.

Little Milestones. Try to get your child to stop thumb sucking in public. Once he/she has overcome that obstacle, encourage them to stop at home during the day. With each obstacle that has been overcome, reward them.

Wait it out. Sometimes kids will stop on their own. Certain ages can trigger a child to decide on their own that they do not want to thumb suck anymore. If this is the case, try to be as supportive as possible and let them know you will always be available to help if they need it.

Talk to your dentist. Consult your dental professional to provide further advice on how to help your child quit the habit. In some cases, there are special appliances that can be put in their mouths to help guide and teach them not to suck their thumb.

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