13 Apr

London Dentist gives advice on Thumb Sucking

Your London dentist can answer your questions or concerns about your child’s thumb sucking habit. Sucking is a natural reflex of instinct of infants, which sometimes stays with them into childhood. Thumb sucking tends to give a child a happy and secure feeling. It also allows them to learn about the world around them when they suck on various objects such as pacifiers. Children usually use thumb sucking to relax themselves and to also help them fall asleep. Sometimes children never suck their thumbs and only suck on their pacifiers. If allowed to suck their thumbs while their permanent teeth are forming, thumb sucking can cause numerous preventable problems as the child becomes older. Thumb sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the permanent teeth and also the roof of the mouth and the pre-maxillary region. All of these can lead to an open anterior bite. Thumb sucking should stop when the formation of the front permanent teeth begins forming; 2-4 years of age. Pacifier use is usually an easier habit to stop for children. Several tips and suggestions that your London dentist has for you are: 1) thumb sucking usually occurs when a child is feeling anxious or insecure, so try to figure out what the causes are and correct them; 2) compliment your child for not sucking their thumb, and don’t give them negative feedback when they do; and 3) try to have your child involved in the stopping process and how they can best succeed to break this habit. Your London dentist can help to explain to your child what the outcome may be if they continue to suck their thumb. If you are not too successful, maybe a sock over the hand at night or some unpleasant tasting medication or foods applied to the thumb may work. However, seek profession advice about what to use before you use these methods.