What is thumbsucking / digit habits?
Many children suck their thumb, or finger(s) (digit habit) for comfort or in boredom.
How do thumbsucking / digit habits effect teeth and jaws?
- Open bite
- Posterior crossbite
What to do about thumbsucking / digit habits?
There is no magic cure or magic technique that always works to get kids to stop sucking pacifiers or thumbs.
Most kids who suck a pacifier stop by the age of 3 and a half. Most kids who suck fingers or a thumb stop a little later, about 4 and a half years of age.
If a habit persists beyond a time where the parent feels uncomfortable or it’s getting close to the time for permanent teeth to come in (around 5 years old), then you can try the following things:
- Gentle reminders are usually the first step as scolding generally makes the situation worse
- Get them occupied with other activities or interests
- Ensure to have regular oral check ups
- Monitor for any chewing difficulties
- Encourage regular oral assessments while your child is teething
If you are seeing a general decrease in the amount of sucking, then you are on the right track. Night time sucking is the last to go, and the most difficult to stop.
For more information about thumbsucking / digit habit treatment, please contact our office.