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Tom C. Sexton, Tallahassee FL Pediatric Dentist, Thomasville GA Orthodontist Pediatric Dentist
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  Thumbsucking
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ThumbsuckingWhy Do Children Suck Their Thumbs?

Children suck on things because sucking is one of a baby's natural instincts. Sucking makes them feel secure and content, and may induce drowsiness. Prolonged thumbsucking (or pacifier sucking) interferes with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth. This improper development, if not corrected, may lead to an "open bite" and may change the appearance of the child's face.

When Should Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?

Children should have ceased sucking by the time they get permanent teeth. If you are having trouble breaking your child's habit, try to:

  • Comfort him if he is feeling insecure. Sometimes children suck their thumb for a sense of security.
  • Instead of scolding your child for thumbsucking, praise him when he doesn't suck his thumb, especially during difficult periods.
  • Explain to older children the dangers of thumbsucking and involve them in choosing the method to break the habit.

If you need help stopping your child's thumbsucking habit, we can provide you with a counseling appointment to develop strategies that will break the habit. Contact Us for more information and an appointment.

Thumbsucking Treatment

Depending on the age of the child and the frequency of their thumbsucking, Dr. Sexton will recommended the appropriate treatment.

Sometimes a "hand trainer" that covers the thumb and prevents the child from being able to "suck" is all that is needed. A tube sock attached to their nightclothes with a safety pin works great.



© Copyright 2003 - Dental WebSmith, Inc., Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Florida), and Tom C. Sexton, DMD, PA (Georgia). All rights reserved. Disclaimer: The information provided within is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.