Thumb sucking is a natural habit for babies and toddlers, as it helps relax them, exactly as a pacifier would. It is a concern for many mothers, as it may have adverse effects on your baby’s teeth later on. Here, we present briefly the ways that thumb sucking can impact your child’s dental health and how you can help your child kick this habit.
Negative impacts of thumb sucking for children over 4 years old
Once your child is four, thumb sucking will impact the health of his teeth and may lead to many dental problems such as:
- Impairment of the structure of the upper jaw and the roof of the mouth.
- Alignment of the front teeth.
- A negative effect on the jaws and the bite of the child.
Further problems may include:
- Damage to the thumbs due to sucking.
- A high risk of infection from the bacteria and germs transmitted from the baby’s thumb to his mouth.
- The child being mocked by his friends if this habit persists.
How can you manage this bad habit?
- Try not paying much attention to this habit, as it may be resolved automatically at four years old.
- Show your child how this habit will negatively impact him.
- Make your child feel loved and secure, as thumb sucking is usually a sign of insecurity and neglect.
- Distract him with toys and crafts to keep his fingers busy.
- Reward him if he obeys you and stop sucking his thumb.
- Use baby gloves early on if you notice the habit forming at an early age.
- Seek professional help if you are not able to stop your child sucking his thumb.