A Kid-friendly Dentist Reveals Important Information About Child Thumb-sucking

Posted on: December 2, 2019

kid-friendly dentist Silver Spring, MD

A kid-friendly dentist does more than clean teeth. Pediatric dentists also go over issues such as thumb-sucking, so parents understand the impact on the child’s oral health. Find out what a dentist has to say about thumb-sucking, so you will know if it is healthy or if your child should stop.

Is thumb-sucking normal?

It is normal for infants to suck their thumbs. In fact, many babies started to suck their thumbs while still in the womb. Thumb-sucking at a young age actually has benefits.

Benefits of thumb-sucking

Thumb-sucking soothes children, and it relieves anxiety. This behavior also makes it easier for children to fall asleep at night. Parents should let children suck their thumbs during this stage of life.

When to stop thumb-sucking

A kid-friendly dentist will recommend that children stop sucking their thumbs by the age of four. Failure to do so could cause serious damage when the permanent teeth come into the mouth.

What happens if children continue the habit?

As children age, thumb-sucking becomes more dangerous and can cause permanent changes to the mouth and teeth. Children who continue this habit might end up with bites that do not open, or top and bottom teeth that do not touch. The teeth also might jut out.

Additional issues with thumb-sucking

Prolonged thumb-sucking can also cause speech issues and make it difficult for the tongue to rest normally. The airway can even shrink if children suck their thumbs for too long.

How to stop thumb-sucking

The idea of getting a child to stop the behavior can be intimidating. It is a natural reflex, so many parents are afraid of the work that goes into stopping it. However, dentists have various recommendations for stopping this behavior that make it easier for parents and children.

Substitute with pacifiers

In the beginning, parents can replace the thumb with a pacifier. It is easier to take a pacifier away, so parents can control the behavior better with this technique. However, parents should not become overly reliant on pacifiers since they cause the same damage as thumbs.

Create a reward system

Reward systems are helpful when stopping this behavior. Parents can create a chart and reward the child’s progress. Start with small goals and then expect the child to go longer and longer without engaging in the behavior.

Use praise

Praise is also helpful when stopping the behavior. Praise the child every step of the way to encourage the new behavior. This will make it easier for the child to stop reaching for a thumb.

Visit a kid friendly dentist

Proper oral health needs to start as soon as your child is born. That means you need to monitor thumb-sucking to ensure the behavior does not hurt your child’s teeth. While thumb-sucking is normal behavior for infants, a kid-friendly dentist should still examine the teeth to make sure that the behavior is not causing harm.

Request an appointment here: https://cosmeticdentistsilverspring.com or call Lee Dentistry at (301) 605-1123 for an appointment in our Silver Spring office.

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