Thumb sucking and finger sucking

Thumb sucking and finger sucking :


Why does it happen?


Children suck their thumbs because it is  comforting and calming for them .Whenever your child is tired, scared, bored, sick, or trying to adjust to challenges such as starting daycare or preschool or any stress giving event may act as a trigger . Child may also use his/her thumb to help them fall asleep at bedtime .


What to do if your child has the habit of  thumb-sucking?


First thing is don\’t worry !


Children can safely suck their thumb – without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws – until their permanent teeth begin to appear which usually start to erupt after 6. At the same time parents need to keep in mind that  sometimes it may cause damage if  the intensity of thesucking is high and constant tongue thrusting while sucking may deform the teeth later. So children who simply rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have dental problems than children who suck aggressively.

In case your child is  sucking vigorously you may start  curbing the  habit as early as between 3 to 4  years or  in case  you feel that the sucking is causing any change in face or jaw protrusion earlier also  you may  take advise from your dentist.

It has been noticed that by age 3-4 years, many thumb and finger sucking children have a gap between their upper and lower teeth and their jaw development has changed, often causing problems with speech. Their tongue muscles also don’t develop correctly, making speechsounds like “s” and “th” difficult. If you wait until after your child’s permanent teeth come in to stop the sucking, they can develop “buck teeth” and an appearance that is not cosmetically pleasing.

Punishing your preschooler  or  nagging  about the habit or  putting  bandages etc  may create an unpleasant feeling and also pressuring the child to stop may  intensify their desire to do it even more so  just let  it go. Wait for to to go till  they are 3 to 4 years but  in case you  realize that  the habit is causing problems may strongly consider measures to curb it down as early as at 3 years of age also.

Mostly as children  grow they find ways to comfort themselves and tend to play and do activities involving use of hands . If  hungry can themselves  look for a snack or can vocalize by then to ask for food instead of putting their dumb in mouth.

In case you  can identify the time or place to tigers for the child in your child and can manage accordingly

1)for example if child is sucking thumb while watching TV you may give  some toy like a soft toy or a rubber ball to squeeze it to calm them .

2)If child is  sucking when tired you may let your child  sleep for longer or put your tim up to bed a little early.

3) when they suck their thumb while angry or frustrated  may help them to express their feeling by  means of words.

4)Lastly  try to divert her attention by offering an alternative.

5)Positive motivation with reasoning on the harmful effects of the habit may to help quit

for examples : thumb and finger sucking spreads germs and makes people sick. Sucking pushes teeth forward and can make you look funny, and you might need braces.Other kids will think you are still a baby or might tease.As long as you suck your thumb it is hard to learn how to speak the right way. You might sound funny.

6) Sticker chart or positive reward system: Make a sticker chart and provide lots of praise and positive rewards for success.  At first, your child might need a sticker for every hour he or she goes without sucking. If she goes a whole day, she might need a special reward such as extra books at bedtime.  Eventually you should be able to get to a daily sticker chart.  Once your child makes it to about two weeks without sucking, you are probablyfree.

7) Praise, all day.

8)Plastic thumb or finger covers are available in market but they are expensive.If you keep them on for about two weeks, your child will have kicked the habit. The problem is that they inhibitive use of hand.

Cloth thumb or finger covers or gloves can also  be used also they are less expensive.However these allow kids to be more active with their hands. Most are easily removed, which is why they seem to be less effective. There are many more such occlusion devices available  but are  not effective .

9)lastly if everything fails and your child is struggling with speech or dental issues, it may be time for an orthodontic device such as a palatal crib or cage.


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