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Does your child suck their thumb or finger? Are you concerned about this habit? It may be a perfectly normal and acceptable habit for infants and toddlers, but when does it need to come to a close? Can sucking on a thumb really affect their teeth? The answer is over time yes, yes it can.

During infancy and into the early toddler years, sucking on their thumb can be a source of comfort to your child as they grow. However, when they reach 4 years old, you may want to begin discouraging the behavior. Frequently sucking on their thumb could begin to affect their mouth as it develops and can lead to palate changes.

Often the habit will disappear on its own as your child ages and they figure out the behavior is unacceptable. But if not, here are some ideas:
-Praise your child when they try to quit.
-Have a reward chart to track your child’s progress.
-If quitting seems especially difficult for your child, you might consider buy something to put on the thumb like a glove, bandage or something with an unpleasant taste.
– Use positive reinforcement with your child; anything else may cause your child stress and could cause more thumb sucking behavior.
-Visit Pacific Hearts Dentistry for more tips on getting your child to quit thumb sucking.

By the time your child reaches 5 or 6 years of age, if they are still sucking on their thumb, the alignment of their teeth could be affected. Their front teeth may jut out, for instance. These changes can impact their secondary teeth as well. Our pediatric dentist can evaluate your child and may make a recommendation for further treatment if necessary.

If you live in the Irving, Texas, area and have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rawaha Memon, please call us today at 972-957-3577.