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Thumb-sucking, when done vigorously or by children over the age of four, can become a harmful habit. The force of the sucking affects the shape of a child’s growing mouth and the alignment of incoming permanent teeth. So what can you do to stop your child’s habit so they won’t damage their teeth and mouth?

  • Cover their hand when they go to bed with a sock or a bitter medicine that is recommended by your dentist. This stems the thumb-sucking that children do to fall asleep.
  • Don’t say anything about the thumb-sucking if you think your child continues to do it only because they want attention.
  • Using a pacifier causes the same damage as thumb-sucking, but is an easier habit to break. Wean your child from sucking their thumb to sucking a pacifier, and work from there.
  • Discover what is giving your child anxiety. Thumb-sucking gives children a sense of security, so try to get rid of the triggers for anxious feelings and give your child comfort.
  • Give your child positive encouragement and praise in stopping their habit. This works better than negative pressure.
  • See you dentist and have him explain to your child why thumb-sucking is so bad for their teeth.