Thumb Sucking

After a certain age, thumb sucking can cause a variety of oral health issues. The Fort Malden Dentistry Team can help your children break their thumb sucking habits before problems occur.


What kinds of problems can thumb sucking cause?

In babies and young children, thumb sucking is a normal, self-soothing behaviour. Most children outgrow this habit during the preschool years.

If thumb sucking continues after the eruption of adult teeth, however, it can lead to serious dental and speech problems.

If it continues into the school-age years, children may also encounter social problems with their peers.

Thumb sucking can cause your child’s teeth to become improperly aligned, or it can push teeth outward and can also cause malformation in the upper palate (the roof of the mouth).

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How can I help my child to stop sucking his thumb?

We understand how difficult it can be when despite your ongoing efforts to stop the thumb sucking behaviour, your child continues to suck his thumb. In these cases, we often recommend creating a dental appliance, which is cemented behind your child’s front teeth, in order to help discourage thumb sucking.

The dental appliance is not uncomfortable, but it makes the act of thumb sucking less enjoyable for your child, thus discouraging the behaviour.

How will I know if a thumb-sucking appliance is right for my child?

If your child continues to suck their thumb after they begin to get their adult teeth, contact our helpful team to schedule an appointment. We will evaluate your child’s thumb-sucking behaviour and help you to make the decision that is right for your child.

Is there anything else I can do to help my child stop sucking their thumb?

Yes! If you suspect your child is sucking their thumb for comfort, you can focus on the cause of their anxiety and provide comfort. If you suspect your child is sucking their thumb due to boredom, distract them with activities. Above all else, notice and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb!


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