Tips for Kicking Thumb Sucking to the Curb

Thumb sucking is not an unusual habit for babies, toddlers, and young children. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, children can begin their thumb sucking habits as early as in the womb —Woah!

And, children usually stop sucking their thumb on their own between ages 2 and 4. —Whew!
Adelberg Montalvan Pediatric Dental | Thumb Sucking
However, if continued, this habit can lead to many consequences including serious dental problems. Listed below are steps you can take to help your child kick thumb sucking to the curb!

Identify the Trigger
Children who suck their thumbs often do so when they’re feeling stressed, upset, hungry, or bored. Once you are able to identify which situations set off your child’s habit you can quickly intervene and slowly eliminate the triggers. 

Positive Reward System
During reading time, did your child keep their thumb out of their mouth? How about when they were playing at the park? Or running an errand with you? Don’t let the small things go unnoticed – a small reward can help the good habit become long-lasting! 

Show and Tell
(Open wide and say “cheeeese”) Compare your mouth with your child’s and point out the pretty smile they can get if they stop sucking their thumb. You can also show them pictures of their favorite cartoon or disney princess’ smiles.

Thumb Time Break
When you see your child is about to put their thumb in their mouth, distract them. Give them an indoor/outdoor activity or a stuffed animal to hold – anything to keep their hands busy!

Time to Talk
One of the best things you can do is speak to your child about why it is important to stop thumb sucking. Remind them you are there to help every step of the way!

Have any of these tips helped your child break their thumb sucking habits? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know! 

If you have any questions about how to improve your child’s oral health please give our offices a call. We specialize in caring for children’s teeth in a comfortable and caring environment. Call (516) 798-1111 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.