AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

How to Help Your Child Stop Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is an incredibly common habit among young children. It’s a habit that many kids develop when they are babies or even still in the womb. While it’s okay for young children to suck their thumbs, it can become problematic as they get older. Excessive thumb sucking often results in dental issues that need to be corrected later. Dental professionals like our orthodontist at Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas offer medical solutions for thumb sucking. Here’s how you can help your child stop this habit.

Help Your Child Find Other Ways to Comfort Themselves

It’s important to remember that if your child is sucking their thumb, they are probably stressed out, so compassion is very important when dealing with this issue. A good way to help wean your child off thumb sucking is to provide other comfort solutions for when they feel anxious. For example, try offering them a stuffed animal or blanket, read them a calming story, or let them watch a TV show that makes them laugh.

Reward Your Child for Not Sucking Their thumb Instead of Punishing Them

Punishing a young child for sucking their thumb can be traumatic, even if your intentions are good. Try to help your child understand why they should stop sucking their thumb by explaining that the habit can move their teeth around. You may also want to use an adult role model as an example. Telling them that their dad, teacher, or favorite moving character doesn’t suck their thumb may inspire them to stop. Point out the times when they don’t suck their thumb and praise them. This positive reinforcement can help them feel motivated to break the habit on their own.

Use a Thumb Sucking Guard

If you’ve been talking to your child about thumb sucking and haven’t made much progress, it might be time to try something a little more drastic. Thumb sucking guards are devices that attach to your child’s hand and are virtually impossible for them to get off. They are particularly helpful for preventing your child from sucking at night. You can talk to our orthodontist for recommendations.

Once your child is a certain age, it’s time to talk to them about quitting their thumb sucking habit. If you’re having a particularly hard time, turn to the team at Ragan Orthodontics. During an appointment at one of our offices in Dallas, you can learn more about thumb sucking solutions for your child, as well as other options that we have available like Invisalign®. Contact us today to book an appointment for your little one.