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How (and Why) to Prevent a Thumb-Sucking Habit

What’s the Problem with Thumb Sucking?

Frequent thumb sucking at a young age often results in problematic misalignment of the teeth such as an open bite or an increased overjet, which can require intensive dental intervention later in life. Break that thumb-sucking habit now and your child will have a much easier time in terms of dental health! 

Give Positive Reinforcement

A good way to wean your child off of thumb sucking is to offer positive reinforcement when they don’t engage in the habit. A small toy, a (healthy!) treat, or a fun activity can work wonders as a reward and motivation to keep up the behaviour.

Identify Triggers

Often, thumb sucking is a response to stress as a way to self soothe. Provide other options so your child can make a habit of being comforted by a stuffed animal, a hug, or a soft blanket. Make sure that these are available when something potentially stressful happens.

Gently Remind, Don’t Scold

Since thumb sucking is usually a self-soothing response to stress, the worst way to try and correct it is to create more stress by scolding your child. Instead, give your child gentle, kind reminders in a calm tone of voice and offer up one of the comforting alternatives to thumb sucking mentioned above.

Don’t forget to get your child started on oral health early! We recommend bringing your child in for their first dental appointment by their first birthday and we offer complimentary infant dental appointments for little ones under a year old.

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