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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking

It is one of the earliest habits an infant develops. It is habit formed out of the sucking reflex and is soothing and calming effect on children. Is the first coordinated act a baby can do that brings comfort and pleasure.

Thumb sucking

 Babies have natural desire to suck. It is the common way babies comfort themselves. The babies usually suck thumb when it is tired, bored, sick or upset or when not using their hands to play.

Babies tend to suck their thumb when they are lonely, bored, or sleepy. Most of the babies grow out of this habit by 3 to 6 years.
Thumb sucking can cause problems for dental development.

Thumb sucking is a normal habit, but it causes serious teeth problems if it is continued long after the eruption of permanent teeth.

Effects of prolonged thumb sucking:

  • Prolonged thumb sucking can lead to crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. The child may also develop speech problems or problems with swallowing properly. Protrusion and displacement of front teeth.
  • It can cause chapped lips, cracked skin, calluses or finger nail infections.
  •  In some the thumb sucking are replaced by placing of pencils between teeth or biting the lips.

How to stop thumb sucking:

  • Keep the child’s hand occupied with a toy, puzzle or other activity.
  • Remove the child’s thumb from the mouth during sleep.
  • Do not put the child in state of anxiety or fear.
  • Educate him or her telling about the bad germs that are on hands and how the child puts them in mouth during thumb sucking.
  • Reward the child for not thumb sucking.
  • Can use thumb sucking guard.