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Finger and Thumb Sucking

About Digit / Thumb Sucking

Digit sucking (most commonly thumb sucking) is a habit that typically begins in infancy. Most children naturally give up this habit by the age of four, but if it continues to when permanent teeth start to erupt, it can lead to crooked teeth and a malformed roof of the mouth. Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of digit sucking, it can even affect jaw alignment and speech.

Breaking the Habit

To minimize the need for future orthodontic treatment, it’s ideal to stop the habit before it becomes a problem. Here are some tips:

Talk to your child about it to make them aware of the habit.

Use positive reinforcement, such as praise or small rewards.

Identify digit-sucking triggers to see if it’s stress-related and provide comfort in other ways.

Offer kind and gentle reminders.

If all attempts are ineffective, talk to your dentist about a possible habit appliance.

If this doesn’t work, ask your pediatric dentist to explain to your child why it’s important to stop. Sometimes, hearing it from someone other than Mom and Dad is more effective!

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