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Tips to Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit in Children

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Thumb sucking is a habit that children may develop while still in the womb. It is typically a comfort mechanism and as such is not a concern when babies are younger and toothless. However, as their teeth begin to erupt, this habit can have serious adverse effects on their dental formation. Normally, your upper teeth are supposed to slightly overlap your lower teeth as they grow. This is what becomes your bite. However, in children who have been thumb-sucking past the development of their teeth, their upper teeth will not create this overlap. This then leads to an overbite. It is recommended to take your child for their first dental appointment at their first birthday so that the paediatric dentist can spot the development of any anomalies with your child's tooth eruption and other dental problems. Here are some child dentist tips to breaking the thumb sucking habit in your child.

Ignore the habit

Before all their teeth come in, it is advisable to try to let the child quit the thumb sucking habit on their own. This can make the transition less traumatic and they will not require a different habit to replace thumb sucking. For instance, some children may regress and want to use a pacifier if they are rushed to stop thumb sucking and this is not a solution but another incumbent problem. Paediatric dentists suggest that if the child is still a toddler, you should ignore the thumb sucking rather than validate it by mentioning how cute it is and so on.

Opt for praise and reward

If ignoring the problem does not work, you can opt to negotiate with your child. Do this by enforcing a praise and reward system that will motivate them to quit the thumb sucking habit. One thing to note through is that you should not reinforce a praise and reward method with candy! Instead, look for other creative ways that may make them more interested in gaining a reward other than sucking their thumb. These could include sticker rewards, allowing them to engage in activities they are passionate about and more.

Request for a tongue crib

If you have tried unsuccessfully to break the thumb sucking habit to no avail, then it may be time to seek professional help. One of the ways that your paediatric dentist can help you is by prescribing a tongue guard. This is an oral appliance that is fitted into your child's mouth. It actively works toward inhibiting thumb sucking; hence, it tends to be effective in a shorter period of time than other methods.

For more information and tips, talk to professional dentists at a local dental clinic, such as Dentology Dental Care.