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Effective Tips for Putting an End to Thumb-Sucking

February 13, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_carmen @ 10:12 pm
toddler child thumb-sucking

Does your child still suckle his-her thumb or a pacifier? If this goes on for too long, it could lead to orthodontic issues. As part of Children’s Dental Health Month, dentists are encouraging parents to take the necessary steps to help curb thumb-sucking and the reliance on a pacifier. As you continue reading, get some valuable tips that you can start implementing today!

Issues with Prolonged Thumb-Sucking and Pacifier Usage

It’s recommended that children stop using pacifiers by their second birthday. This coincides with two developmental milestones they should have reached at this point: the emergence of the primary teeth and the consumption of solid food. Any pacifier usage or thumb-sucking beyond the age of four can result in the need for bite correction.

Tips for Stopping Thumb-Sucking

Here are some of the methods you can use to help your child stop thumb-sucking:

  • A sticker chart – Set a time goal for your child to get through without sucking his or her thumb. Reward the compliance with a sticker.
  • Positive reinforcement – Instead of chastising your child for suckling, you can accomplish more by using positive reinforcement on the occasions that he or she has practiced restraint.
  • The busy-hands method – Like cigarette smoking, thumb-sucking is often a result of boredom. Keeping your child’s hands busy can help with preventing this. For example, you can encourage playing with a set of blocks.
  • Small, non-food rewards – Over a period of time, if your little one shows further signs of cutting back on suckling or pacifier reliance, you can reward him or her with a favorite toy or a fun outing.
  • A palatal crib or rake – This should be considered as a last resort. It involves an orthodontist placing a special device that prevents thumb-sucking and is typically only used for around three months.

Weaning Your Child from Pacifier Usage

Thankfully, it’s usually easier to wean a child from pacifier usage than it is to stop thumb-sucking. You can either give the pacifier away or cut the nipple.

The Value of Early Dental Appointments

Your children’s dentist is your ally when it comes to helping your child realize the best oral health possible. By scheduling dental visits early on, you can instill healthy and effective habits and avoid unnecessary mishaps.

The dentist can also talk to your child about why it’s important to take care of his or her smile. Because they’re trained and experienced with talking to children about their oral health, dentists are excellent at getting the message across in a kind and caring manner.

By being proactive, you can rest assured that your child will experience excellent oral health and maintain a wonderful smile well into the future!

About the Author

Dr. Bobby J. Carmen is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. Committed to excellence, he has taken over 1,100 hours of continuing education, earning him Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Carmen helps children get off to the right oral health start by providing top-notch and compassionate care at his private practice. He can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.

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