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Stop Finger and Thumb Sucking

Thumb Sucking is common among young children, and babies. Young children suck their fingers for security and anxiety relief and are considered a normal reflexive action. Academic research has determined that Thumb Sucking can lead to fewer allergies in babies and young children. Finger Sucking can help develop muscles in the mouth and jaw. Thumb Sucking, in general, is not a problem and can even be beneficial. Thumb and Finger Sucking becomes a problem when children continue the habit over a long period of time – leading to dental issues. Without proper treatment, Thumb/Finger Sucking can lead to expensive orthodontic work later in life to correct overbite and other dental issues.

Does Thumb and Finger Sucking affect future Dental health?

Pervasive sucking can cause teeth alignment issues and negatively impact the proper growth and development of the jaw and mouth. Young children who aggressively suck their fingers over a long period of time can develop poor tooth alignment, and abnormal changes to the roof of the mouth.

When a child’s bite is normal, the upper jaw should overlap the lower jaw without a large space between the upper and lower teeth. The pressure of Finger Sucking can interfere with tooth eruption and the jaw. Sucking fingers blocks front teeth from fully erupting while pushing them out and towards where the thumb or fingers rest. Some children who suck their fingers develop open bites in which there are is an open space between the upper and lower teeth leading to severe misalignment of the lower and upper jaw. In some cases, Thumb Sucking may even change the position of the tongue. Rather than lifting against the roof of the mouth while swallowing, the tongue may thrust into the space between dentition, this may lead to a lisp.

The intensity and length of time a child sucks their thumbs is a determining factor in whether the child will develop serious dental problems. Children who simply put their thumb or fingers in their mouth have a lower risk of dental issues than children who aggressively and consistently suck a thumb or finger.

The frequency and length of the Digit Sucking habit will also influence whether your kid is at risk for dental issues. Thumb and Finger Sucking for just a few minutes a day and not during sleep is less of a concern than Thumb Sucking throughout the day. Kids who suck their fingers before the age of 5 do not usually experience issues with jaw formation, although the front dentition may lose the correct alignment. After the age of six Thumb and Finger, Sucking is more problematic with more serious issues such as improper jaw alignment becoming more common.

As a parent, should you be concerned about your Child’s thumb sucking?

Most experts suggest you don’t need to worry about your child’s Thumb Sucking unless they continue the behavior beyond ages four or five. According to the American Dental Association, 85% to 99% of kids stop sucking their thumb naturally before they are four or five. There is absolutely no need to try to stop Thumb Sucking behavior in kids under four, in fact trying to force your child to stop this behavior before age four can cause more harm than good.

It is advised, to keep an eye on your child’s Finger Sucking habit. Make sure your child is not hurting their thumb or mouth. Constant Thumb Sucking can cause sore, chapped lips and lead to cuts on the thumb and mouth.

I’M POWERED Life recommends speaking with your pediatric dentist about your Childs thumb and Finger Sucking habit if it continues past age four. Seek their advice on how to curb their Thumb Sucking behavior before it begins to cause problems.

Solutions for Thumbsucking

There are many solutions that may help stop your child’s Thumb and Finger Sucking habit:

  • Give infants a pacifier. While this doesn’t reduce damage, pacifiers are easier to control.
  • Offer praise and rewards. After explaining why Thumb Sucking is a bad habit, without scaring your son or daughter, offer plenty of praise when they resist the habit. Come up with a system for rewarding their habit-breaking. At I’M POWERED Life we offer a series of winner badges to reward your child for positive behavior as they work to eliminate their habit.
  • Offer reminders. Offer gentle reminders when you notice Finger Sucking. The fun superhero-themed Hoodies and Tees provide a barrier to eliminate the pleasure sensation of Finger and Thumb Sucking.
  • Offer comfort. Take note of when the Sucking behavior is most common. Some kids suck their thumb to ease anxiety and increase their own comfort, especially to fall asleep.

Positive Reinforcement – Always

Focus on positive reinforcement and support during the process of curbing your child’s Finger and Thumb Sucking habit. Punishment, negative reinforcement and scare tactics will only cause more anxiety for kids, increasing their desire to suck their fingers and thumbs. A system of positive rewards along with tools such as the I’M POWERED Life Tees and Hoodies will do more to help your child kick the Thumb Sucking habit for good than any scare tactics or negative feedback.
Stopping a sucking habit early in your child’s life can help protect them from serious dental issues and avoid the need for braces and other expensive orthodontic treatments. A few dollars invested today to stop your child’s Thumb and Finger Sucking habit could save you thousands of dollars of very expensive orthodontic work later.

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