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When Should My Child Stop Thumbsucking?

September 21, 2016

It’s a natural reflex for kids to suck their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or other objects. As a parent, you may wonder if this is safe or when you should try to get your little ones to stop thumbsucking – here are some answers to commonly asked thumbsucking questions:

Why do kids suck on fingers or pacifiers?

Thumbsucking is a very normal babies and young kids, they begin sucking before they’re even born. It helps them to feel secure and helps them to learn about the world. Some young children use sucking to help them fall asleep at night.

Is thumbsucking bad for the teeth?

Most children stop thumbsucking on their own when they’re between two and four years old, but others continue for a long period of time. When kids continue sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, or other objects for too long their upper front teeth may not come in properly. This can affect their bite and jaw growth in the long term.

Should I worry about my child thumbsucking?

Dr. Maggie will watch how your child’s teeth grow and how their jaw develops during their checkups. If your child is three or older, you should begin encouraging them to stop the habit to avoid issues with tooth alignment down the road.

How can I get my child to stop thumbsucking?

Most children stop thumbsucking on their own, but some will require intervention from their parent or dentist. Once your child is old enough to understand, Dr. Maggie can speak with them about the consequences of a sucking habit and encourage them to stop. Advice from your dentist combined with parental support helps most children kick the habit.

Are pacifiers safer for kids than thumbs?

Whether you child sucks on their thumb, finger, or a pacifier, it all affects the teeth and jaws in the same way. However, some parents find that it’s easier to a break a pacifier habit because you can throw away a pacifier.

If you’re concerned about your child’s thumbsucking habits, talk to Dr. Maggie at your next visit!

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