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Sucking On Your Thumb | Pediatric Dentist San Juan Capistrano

I Don’t Understand Why My Child Likes Sucking Their Thumb?

Younger children typically suck on their thumbs and including other things like pacifiers and objects. This occurs sometimes during a stressful scenario where sucking on an object or their thumb will help them feel secure and relaxed.

Thumb sucking can cause teeth alignment issues after their permanent teeth have finished growing in. Dependant on the intensity of which the child sucks on an object will be the determining factor for how much damage is done on their teeth. Sucking thumbs continuously is a greater risk for a child’s teeth versus if a child is sucking their thumb occasionally. Fortunately, most kids will completely stop sucking their thumbs when they reach between 2-4 years old which is before when their permanent teeth grow in.

If you believe your child cannot stop sucking their thumb, try following these points to steer them away from this harmful habit:

  • Try praising them whenever they are not sucking their finger versus scolding them when they are.
  • Try to help them deal with anxiety and making sure they feel comfortable because as previously stated, thumb sucking is caused by feeling insecure.
  • Place a bandage on their thumb or put a sock on it when they are sleeping to ensure that they will not suck on their finger.

If you believe that pacifiers are a great alternative to sucking on a thumb, then you are wrong as they cause just as much dental damage as the latter. If you have additional questions about thumb sucking or pacifiers, then consult with your child’s pediatric dentist.


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