How to Stop Thumb Sucking Habit?

Thumb sucking is a natural urge in babies and generally decreases by 6 months of age. But sometimes babies may continue this habit to soothe themselves when they are anxious or bored or afraid. Children who suck their thumb often or with great intensity beyond the age of 5 are at a risk of developing dental and speech problems. Sucking of thumb can cause malaligned teeth or forwardly placed teeth that may require orthodontic treatment later on. Speech problems may include lisping or thrusting out of tongue while speaking.

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In order to break the habit, wrapping the finger with a bandage and reminding the child frequently to not suck on their thumb may help. Positive reinforcement and praise for not sucking the thumb can be followed. Do not shame your child as this may make them more anxious. Distracting the child may help. If home techniques don’t work, going to your dentist will help. Oral devices are placed in the mouth that help in breaking the habit.

DR. PRAMANIK NAMRATA

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