Pediatric Dentistry: How to Prevent Thumb Sucking

Pediatric Dentistry: How to Prevent Thumb Sucking

Pediatric Dentistry: Preventing Thumb Sucking

Children begin sucking their thumbs for many reasons. Most infants begin thumb sucking in the womb. As they grow up, children begin putting objects in their mouth to help them learn about the world around them. In addition, they use thumb sucking as a means of comfort. Many parents will notice their children sucking their thumbs predominantly when they are tired or anxious.

However, thumb sucking does have its drawbacks. Depending on the intensity of a child’s thumb sucking, they may develop dental issues. Some of the dental issues that can occur because of this habit include interference with proper mouth growth and teeth alignment and changes to the roof of your child’s mouth. As a result, pediatric dentists recommend helping your child kick the habit once their permanent teeth begin to come in around the age of 4. Most children will quit on their own, but if your child still uses thumb sucking as a means of comfort, follow these tips to help them break the habit.

Use Distraction

When you notice that your child engages in thumb sucking, try to distract them. Get your child to do something that requires both of their hands. This will be something you need to watch closely before nap or bedtime. You can give them a stuffed animal to hold or have them hold a book as you read it to them.

Be Supportive

Instead of shaming your child when they suck their thumb, offer them praise when they do not. Punishing your child for their bad habit only causes them more anxiety, leading to a subconscious desire to suck their thumb for comfort.

Consult Your Pediatric Dentistry Office

A pediatric dentistry office is filled with experts who work with children every day to help change bad habits and develop positive ones. The pediatric dentistry team at Parkcrest Dental Group has years of experience assisting parents who are trying to convince their children to give up thumb sucking. Oftentimes, hearing from a pediatric dentist that they should quit their bad habit will appeal to their sense of growing up. Information from an authority figure, especially someone who is an expert in pediatric dentistry, can have a major impact on your child.

Use Peer Pressure

At the age that your child should quit sucking their thumb will be around the time they begin to be much more social. Making friends at preschool or child care will introduce them to their peers. Inviting your child’s friends who do not suck their thumb for a sleepover can have a major impact on your child’s thumb sucking behavior.

Contact Dr. Scott at Parkcrest Dental Group

If you need assistance to help your child develop healthy dental habits, Dr. Stuart Scott at Parkcrest Dental is happy to help. Our pediatric dentistry team is dedicated to helping your children develop healthy smiles. You should schedule your child’s first pediatric dentistry visit around the time their first teeth begin to come in. If you are interested in learning how Dr. Scott and his team can help, call us today at 417-262-5515.

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