Charlotte Pediatric Dentists Take a Stand Against Thumb-Sucking

SuckingThumbSmFor small children, thumb and finger sucking is common. However, if it continues into childhood it can cause many oral and tooth issues. Unfortunately, convincing a small child to kick the habit can be a battle that requires a team effort. For technical and moral support, consider recruiting a pediatric dentist in Charlotte NC to discuss how to help your child break the thumb-sucking habit for good.

Many babies under the age of a year will suck their fingers or thumb to comfort themselves, especially when they are tired. Most will stop on their own over time, but when they don’t, parents and their pediatric dentist must step in and help them to stop.

Parents can begin discouraging finger- and thumb-sucking by providing positive reinforcement for their child. Limit their use of other objects (blankets/stuffed toys) that they associate thumb/finger sucking with. When they accomplish something without sucking on their thumb or fingers, praise them for doing a great job. Over time they will form a habit of not having to suck on their fingers or thumb to provide comfort.

By continuing to suck on their thumb or fingers, especially past the age of 4, malocclusion or forward pushing of the teeth can occur. A child who continues to suck on their fingers or thumb will be more likely to develop speech impediments, therefore needing orthodontics to correct the problem. If necessary, your pediatric dentist can refer your child to an orthodontist to discuss different appliances that will discourage thumb and finger sucking.

If your child is 4 or older and you are having concerns regarding sucking of their thumb or fingers, please contact a Charlotte NC pediatric dentist today to discuss the options that can be taken to deter further dental concerns. By taking a proactive stance against thumb-sucking, you can position your child for a healthier and happier future.