Breaking the Habit

Bad habits? We’re not talking about smoking or nail biting. We’re talking about thumb sucking.

Thumb sucking isn’t a major issue with infants who may find the action especially comforting.  But once those permanent teeth come in, little Jane or Jake should not be sucking his/her thumb. The pressure of the thumb pushing on the top teeth can result in buck teeth, speech problems or malocclusions such as damage to the structure of the roof of the mouth. thumb 200

Parents: Be honest with your children. Tell them that their teeth can stick out or they might not be able to pronounce words, which wouldn’t be fun for them. Some experts suggest rubbing a garlic clove or apple cider vinegar on thumbs as safe deterrents that are especially “smelly” and taste bad. We’ve even heard of parents encouraging children to put thick soccer or tube socks on their arms at bedtime in a sort of game to deter the thumb sucking.

Try to be patient with your thumb-sucker. Most children outgrow the habit by the time the primary teeth come in. If you’re worried, talk to one of our dentists or hygienists for alternative ways of trying to stop the habit.