A newly born baby's entire routine involves around sleeping and drinking milk. However, as the child grows up, he starts to develop tendencies. One of the commonest habits is thumb-sucking. The sucking motion comes to the child naturally with the need to feed. Making a sucking motion with their lips indicate the child is hungry. Additionally, sucking their thumb gives children a sense of security.
Dental Effects of Thumb-Sucking
Although it is perfectly normal for your child to continue thumb sucking during infancy, the problem starts if this habit continues when your child first permanent teeth start coming in. Persistent thumb sucking can affect proper mouth growth, changes to the roof of the mouth, and the alignment of teeth. Oral issues may also depend on the intensity of thumb sucking. Children who suck their thumbs in a passive manner are less likely to suffer from long-term oral development issues than children who suck their thumb aggressively. At Mahar Dental, Dr. Mahar and Thomas F. Mahar, DDS advise parents to listen to a popping noise when their child takes the thumb out of his mouth. This noise is a sign of how aggressive the thumb sucking is. Some parents give pacifiers to their kids, but keep in mind that pacifier can also cause some of the same issues, though most children do not aggressively suck on pacifiers. Children typically stop sucking their thumb by age four so if your child drops the habit around this age, you shouldn't worry about any potential mouth issues.
How to Break Your Child's Thumb-Sucking Habit
If your child doesn't stop sucking his thumb on his own, don't make a big fuss about it. Mostly, the problem will resolve on its own, but if it doesn't, you can try these strategies: [[[DIVSTYLE:margin-left:25px|[[[BulletList:Give your child plenty of positive reinforcement to make them stop thumb sucking. Children respond more positively when they are praised rather than when they are being scolded.
If you need more information on why your child sucks their thumb, schedule an appointment at Mahar Dental by calling at (315) 766-2770 today.