Sucking habits are normal for new born babies and toddlers 2-3 years of age. Thumb and finger sucking offers these tots a level of comfort allowing them to self sooth, relax and sleep.
Most children stop their non nutritive sucking habit at two and three years of age. If your child stops his habit before the age of 5 then the negative effects of the habit should be minimal. After the age of 5, children whom still have a sucking habit may experience a negative self image as well as distortions to developing mouth, teeth, palate, face and speech. An average 5 year old child can have some degree of understanding and motivation to stop their sucking habit. Parents can help their child by incorporating a positive training methods much like potty training.
- Around the age of 5 your child can begin to understand that they control their hands and through positive reinforcement quit their sucking habit
- Books like My Thumb and I have interactive training methods that can help
- Remind your child by covering the favorite fingers with band aids, gloves, ace bandages and Mavola stop.
- Contact HomeGrown pediatric dentistry and Orthodontics in Jonesboro GA
Parents should utilize ABCs action, belief and positive consequences to assist their child. Actions include the child taking responsibility for fingers and thumbs while agreeing to care for gloves and place band aide reminders to quit the habit. The child and parent must believe this is possible and the parent and child must agree to daily, weekly and monthly rewards for accomplishing success. A wonderful book titled My Thumb and I by Carol Mayer, can help parents and children plan to stop the sucking habit together.
Another popular aid is Mavola Stop. Parents may find this product at our office HomeGrown pediatric dentistry and Orthodontics as well as on Amazon.com. Mavola stop is a bitter tasting non-toxic nail polish that reminds children not to suck. This is an esthetic reminder that can be used instead of a band-aid or glove. It acts as reminder to the child.
If you have tried positive training methods and reminders like gloves, ace bandages, band aids and Mavola stop and but your child needs additional help then your orthodontist can help. Orthodontic appliance options that can be fixed into your child’s mouth and can help stop the habit while correcting some of the negative effects of sucking habits by normalizing the position of the bones and teeth. Once orthodontic correction is achieved and habit has ceased your child will have greater self confidence. Correction will also help improve mastication and speech.
If you have questions about your child’s thumb or finger sucking habit contact our office HomeGrown Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics our specialists are your premiere pediatric dentist and orthodontist in Clayton county GA. We offer free consultations for children, teens and adults. Call to make your appointment with Dr Susan Podray Orthodontist and Dr Christina McKellar Pediatric dentist.