Dental Problems

How to Deal with Child Thumb Sucking

Sucking on thumbs or fingers is normal and also healthy for children up to the age of four years. Until this age they have baby teeth. But if this habit persists up to the age of seven, it becomes a matter of concern for the parents. By this age, permanent teeth start erupting in children. If the habit of sucking in children goes unnoticed, some dental problems can crop up. This article chronicles the issue of child thumb sucking in brief.

How Thumb Sucking leads to Dental Issues ?

There are two types of threats to the teeth, which can arise from prolonged sucking of fingers. They are:

Buck Teeth:

In this type of dental complication, the front tooth of the upper jaw gets pushed out from normal alignment of teeth. This can causes undesirable and permanent alterations in the structure or the shape of the face. The child also has the threat of facing a condition called open bite for the rest of his life.


Pre-school children are more prone to this disorder. Consist ant sucking of fingers or more dangerously articles like pencils or biting lips are prevalent habits among these children. As a consequence of these bad habits, teeth get disturbed from the normal positions in the jaws. This can cause difficulty in pronunciation of certain types of sounds in speeches.

How to Address the Issue of Thumb Sucking ?

Means which can ensure active cooperation from children are effective always. Coercion or strictness may be detrimental in resolving this dental problem. Some of the effective means to deal with this problem are:

Limit Nagging and Practice Patience:

Though it is an obvious and easy means of restoring discipline, it is not effective as children turn defensive. Parents have to be patient to notice the changes.

Keep the Hands Busy:

Ensure that there is always one article or other in the hands of the child like a toy or a food item for instance. Mark the progress made. Show it to the child and do not forget to appreciate him.

Use Reminders:

Wrapping the fingers with band aid while the child sleeps or painting them with unpleasant tasting nail paint can be effective. It is always advisable to implement new parenting techniques pertaining to this disorder after consulting the doctor.

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