Thumb sucking At Signature Smile In River Oaks And Royse City, Texas

Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking can be a difficult habit for a child to break. Understand what you can do to help your child stop sucking his or her thumb.

it is a common habit among children. At some point, though, you might think, “Enough is enough.” Here’s help encouraging your child to stop the behavior.

Why do some children suck their thumbs?

Babies have natural rooting and sucking reflexes, which can cause them to put their thumbs or fingers into their mouths — sometimes even before birth. Because it makes babies feel secure, some babies might eventually develop a habit of thumb sucking when they need soothing or going to sleep.

Causes of thumb sucking as an adult

Adults who suck their thumbs may find that it reduces anxiety and stress, helping them to calm down.

It’s possible that some adults who suck their thumbs experienced trauma during childhood and turned to the behavior to calm themselves down during that time. In some instances, the behavior may simply stick, making for an easy-to-access stress reliever.

it may also become an almost involuntary habit, used to relieve boredom in addition to stress.

There is anecdotal evidence indicating that some people with trichotillomania, a condition earmarked by an irresistible urge to pull out scalp, eyebrow, or body hair, also thumb suck.

Age regression is a condition in which a person displays behaviors more typical of people who are younger than them. it is sometimes associated with this condition.

How long does thumb sucking usually last?

Many children stop sucking their thumbs on their own, often by age 6 or 7 months or between ages 2 and 4.

But even a child who’s stopped sucking his or her thumb might go back to the behavior during times of stress.

When should I intervene?

Thumb sucking isn’t usually a concern until a child’s permanent teeth come in. At this point, thumb sucking might begin to affect the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. The risk of dental problems is related to how often, how long, and how intensely your child sucks on his or her thumb.

Although some experts recommend addressing sucking habits before age 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the treatment is usually limited to children who continue it after turning 5.

What can I do to encourage my child to stop thumb sucking?

Talk to your child about it. You’re more likely to be successful in stopping the habit if your child wants to stop and helps choose the method involved.

Sometimes paying no attention to it is enough to stop the behavior — especially if your child uses thumb sucking to get attention. If ignoring it isn’t effective, try one of these techniques:

  • Use positive reinforcement. Praise your child or provide small rewards — such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park — when he or she isn’t thumbing sucking. Set attainable goals, such as no thumb sucking an hour before bed. Place stickers on a calendar to record the days when your child successfully avoids thumb sucking.
  • Identify triggers. If your child sucks his or her thumb in response to stress, identify the real issue, and provide comfort in other ways — such as with a hug or reassuring words. You might also give your child a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.
  • Offer gentle reminders. If your child sucks his or her thumb without thought — rather than as a way to get attention — gently remind him or her to stop. Don’t scold, criticize, or ridicule your child.

Can the dentist At Signature Smile In River Oaks And Royse City, Texas help?

If you’re concerned about the effect of thumb sucking on your child’s teeth, check with the dentist At Signature Smile In River Oaks And Royse City, Texas. For some kids, a chat with the dentist At Signature Smile In River Oaks And Royse City, Texas about why it’s important to stop thumb sucking is more effective than a talk with mom or dad.

Rarely, some doctors recommend using unpleasant techniques, such as covering your child’s thumbnail with a bitter substance, bandaging the thumb, or covering the hand with a sock at night.

Thumb sucking effects

Thumb sucking doesn’t have many adverse effects on children with baby teeth. However, once permanent teeth come in, thumb-sucking may cause problems with tooth alignment.

In adults, problems with bite and oral health may worsen unless they are addressed, either by getting braces or by stopping the behavior.

The side effects of thumb sucking may be more pronounced if you suck your thumb vigorously or often.

Thumb sucking in adults can cause several other side effects:

Misaligned teeth (dental malocclusion)

Thumb sucking can create problems with the proper alignment of teeth, causing conditions such as an overbite to occur.

The upper and lower teeth may also begin to slant outward. This is known as an anterior open bite.

In some instances, the lower incisor teeth may begin to tip toward the tongue.

During vigorous thumb sucking, the cheek muscles flex. This may work to alter jaw shape and cause crossbite, another type of tooth misalignment. Changes to jaw shape can also affect facial appearance.

Changes to the roof of the mouth

Thumb sucking can cause the roof of the mouth to indent and become concave. The roof of the mouth may also become more sensitive to touch and sensation.

Oral infection

Without vigilant hand washing, it may introduce dirt and bacteria into the mouth, potentially causing an infection in a tooth or the gums.

Problems with the thumb

Vigorous or long-term it can change the shape of the thumb, making it thinner or elongated.

It can also dry out the skin of the thumb, causing it to crack, bleed, or become infected.

Long-term it can also cause calluses to form on the thumb.

Difficulties with speech

The dental problems caused by it can result in speech problems, such as lisping.

What if nothing works?

For some children, it is an incredibly difficult habit to break. Try not to worry. Putting too much pressure on your child to stop thumb sucking might only delay the process.

Resources:

healthline.com

mayoclinic.org

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