Is Thumb Sucking a Problem?

Pediatric Dentistry for Avon, Connecticut

Avoid The Problems Associated With Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is quite normal in infants. It is estimated that 90 percent of newborns will show some sign of hand sucking within two hours of being born. This habit is harmless and most children will stop sucking their thumbs on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. However, if your child is past the age of 5 and continues to suck on his thumb problems can start to occur. Bite problems, protruding front teeth, sore thumbs and infections can all result from continued thumb sucking and if you are concerned about this habit in your child contact your pediatric dentist to find out more about this habit and how you can stop it.

Cute or a Problem

The image of an infant sucking on his thumb is a classic pose that will certainly elicit adorable comments from parents and other adults. Again, it is normal for an infant to begin sucking on his thumbs at an early age and for the most part this habit is harmless and nothing to worry about. Young children suck on their thumbs to find comfort and to soothe themselves. Some may also use this habit to help fall asleep or calm down. However, after awhile thumb sucking can become a problem. When your kids start to grow they will venture beyond their clean environments and be exposed to harmful bacteria that can cause infections if it makes its way into a child's mouth. Other problems that can occur from continued thumb sucking, as mentioned before, include problems with biting and protruding front teeth.

Tips for Stopping Thumb Sucking

If your child is nearing the age of 5 and continues to suck his thumb there are some steps you can take to try and discourage this habit. Yelling at your child or punishing him for sucking his thumb is not a good way to stop the behavior. Instead, praise your child when he refrains from thumb sucking and if he has not sucked on his thumb for a few days consider giving him a treat. As children grow they want to be more like adults and a good idea is to ask your child how many adults they know that suck their thumb. This little hint can have a big impact on a child who wants to be taken seriously.

For expert care and treatment of cavities in your children, call one of our offices:

West Hartford: 860-523-4213
North Windham: 860-456-0506
Unionville: 860-673-3900

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David Epstein
CT Pediatric Dentist
David Epstein
A.B., D.D.S., M.S.D.

22 Jan 2022 11:51 PM