Abington Children's Dentistry and Orthodontics

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Hello to our Bridgewater, MA families.!  We are so happy to share this important oral health information with you!  Kicking the thumb or finger-sucking habit, also known as thumb-sucking or finger-sucking, is a common behavior in infants and young children. It’s a natural reflex that provides comfort and security, but if it persists beyond a certain age, it can lead to dental and speech problems. Helping your child break this habit gently and patiently is important. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Understanding the Habit: First, understand that thumb-sucking is often a way for children to self-soothe, especially when they are tired, anxious, or bored. Try to identify the triggers that lead to thumb-sucking in your child.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Praise and reward your child when they don’t suck their thumb or finger. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator. Offer small rewards, like stickers on a reward chart or extra playtime, for periods of successful avoidance.
  3. Replace the Habit: Provide alternatives for your child to soothe themselves, such as a soft blanket, stuffed animal, or a special toy. Encourage them to hold or cuddle these comfort objects instead of their thumb or finger.
  4. Gentle Reminders: Be gentle in your approach. Remind your child to stop thumb-sucking without scolding or shaming them. Use positive language and encourage them to try to stop on their own.
  5. Use a Bitter Tasting Nail Polish: You can try using a safe, non-toxic bitter-tasting nail polish on your child’s thumb or finger. The unpleasant taste can discourage thumb-sucking.
  6. Consult a Dentist or Pediatrician: If the habit persists and you are concerned about its impact on your child’s teeth or speech development, consult a dentist or pediatrician. They can provide guidance and may recommend devices like a thumb guard or mouth appliance to discourage thumb-sucking.
  7. Be Patient: Breaking the thumb or finger-sucking habit can take time. It’s important to be patient and understanding with your child. Remember that most children eventually outgrow this habit on their own.

Keep in mind that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s essential to approach this habit with sensitivity and empathy, taking your child’s unique needs and temperament into consideration.

Abington Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, which is conveniently located just minutes from Bridgewater, MA is always accepting new patients.  Call today!  781.347.5898

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