Most children went through a thumbsucking phase at one point. And that’s completely normal most of the time. At a certain age, children tend to explore the world through their mouths. Thumbsucking is one way this curiosity manifests. However, over time this cute little habit can morph into something detrimental—particularly for your children’s front teeth and upper teeth. Is there a way how to break a thumbsucker habit? Fortunately, with a habit device, there is.
Before we get into how to break a thumbsucker habit, there are a few questions we need to address. For one, why is thumbsucking so detrimental in the first place? And at what age does it become bad for your child’s teeth?
Thumbsucking, while reasonable, is only appropriate up until a certain age. As a matter of fact, children who suck their thumbs at an early age tend to be more curious and independent. Thumbsucking, then, isn’t always a bad thing. It does become a bad thing when your child begins to rely on it too much. And this over-reliance affects your child on two levels:
- They might never outgrow the habit
- This can impact the development of their front teeth and the rest of their upper teeth
Things go downhill by the time they reach the age of 4-6, which is also when most children begin to grow their permanent teeth. You might wonder, however, how to break a thumbsucker habit. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this, often involving affirmations. Otherwise, you might want to use a habit device.
How to break a thumbsucker habit
Of course, when it comes to breaking a habit, it’s usually best to start at the root. And often, this means breaking the patterns that make children more susceptible to extended thumbsucking. And, for the most part, you don’t really need fancy equipment for this.
According to the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy blog, there are a few techniques you can use as a habit breaker, including:
One of the ways you can encourage your child to stop the habit is to encourage them during the times they end thumbsucking. For some children, thumbsucking can be a positive experience. And often, the only way to offset this is to provide a better experience. Praise from a parent or loved one for not thumbsucking can be a good start.
Taking note of the times they suck their thumbs
In other cases, thumbsucking can be a coping mechanism. Sometimes when your child is in an anxious state or uncomfortable, they might turn to it as a form of comfort. When this happens, then, try to take note of when or where they feel the need to suck their thumb. Instead of turning to it, you can turn it into an opportunity to forge stronger bonds with your child by attending to their needs.
Having a talk with their pediatric dentist
When it comes to breaking a bad habit—particularly thumbsucking—your child’s pediatric dentist plays a significant role. Especially in ensuring the proper development of their front teeth and upper teeth. Having them talk with their pediatric dentist might be able to help them break the habit and make them more familiar with the dental office.