Thumb Sucking

Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentists located in The Woodlands, TX & Spring, TX

Thumb sucking is a normal part of development, with many babies hanging on to the habit as they grow older. While thumb sucking can give your child a sense of peace, it can also interfere with a healthy mouth. At Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry, with offices in The Woodlands and Spring, Texas, Scott A. Andersen, DDS, and Tab R. Imdacha, DDS, offer resources to help your child successfully quit sucking their thumb or using a pacifier. Schedule a consultation today, online or by phone, to get more information about thumb sucking.

Thumb Sucking Q & A

How does thumb sucking affect dental health?

Small children often suck their fingers or use a pacifier because it helps to soothe them and gives a sense of security. While sucking is a natural reflex in children, it can be a cause for concern if your child hasn’t kicked the habit before their teeth start coming in.

Children who aggressively suck their thumb or pacifier may experience issues with the growth and alignment of their baby teeth. While many children grow out of their thumb sucking phase by age 3 or 4, some continue to rely on the comfort they get from sucking on a thumb or pacifier, putting them at risk for issues with the development of their adult teeth.

How do I stop my child from sucking their thumb?

Children need support to give up a habit that brings them comfort. It can help to use positive words and encouragement to help your child stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier.

You may need to remind them throughout the day to not put their fingers in their mouth and provide extra comfort during times of stress. You can also apply over-the-counter topicals that taste bad to your child if they put fingers in their mouth.

Thumb sucking can be a difficult habit to break, so be prepared to patiently work with your child over a period of time. You can set small goals, such as no thumb sucking or pacifier use before bed, to help your child break the habit for good.

How can the dentist help with thumb sucking?

Dr. Andersen and Dr. Imdacha have a lot of experience with toddlers and young children who like to suck their thumb. They can provide you with additional resources to help break the habit.

The dentists also perform regular evaluations of your child’s teeth as they erupt to ensure thumb sucking isn’t interfering with the alignment or health of the teeth. They can also encourage your child to stop relying on their thumb or pacifier during each visit.

If you have concerns about your child’s dental health due to thumb sucking, schedule a consultation today online or by calling the office nearest you.