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Hi, my name is Carlos and I am a researcher at UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento. Learning new stuff and writing about the latest topics is my hobby. I came up with Ecologia Aldia so that knowledge can be shared without any limitations. Stay in touch for more updates.

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How To Help Your Child Quit Thumb Sucking

Why do children suck their thumbs?

The answer to this is very simple; children find a certain level of comfort and serenity while they suck their thumb. Most cases develop in the womb and are often triggered by something as simple as being nervous or as being scared of pain.

My advice is to not worry about it too much unless your child goes beyond the years after their permanent teeth begin to emerge. You can also browse online to find out about the ways of how to stop finger sucking in children.

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This is usually somewhere around the age of six years. If thumb sucking goes beyond this point you should be looking for ways to help your child and encourage new habits to replace the thumb sucking.

Some people will tell you to wait but as you can tell from my experience that might not be such a good idea. You will be forced in some way to nag or punish your child but it will only make the situation worse, remember, they suck their thumbs for comfort and you punish them and nagging will only force them to entertain themselves and defeat your purpose.

What can you do?

Encourage your child to find other ways to find comfort and security, I gave my daughter a teddy bear firefighter and that did the trick after the second month. You can also try things like blankets or nightlight that plays relaxing music.

How to Address the Habit of Thumb Sucking

Orthodontists and pediatric dentists are often the best resources for children who are sucking their thumb/finger because they have experience with young patients, knowledge regarding the effects of a digit habit on the teeth/mouth, and they can provide a different voice for the child to hear.

In our office, our first effort is always directed toward at-home methods for stopping thumb/finger sucking in order to reduce and/or eliminate the need for orthodontic appliances. You can also search online if you want your child to stop thumb sucking.

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We always like to start with a positive approach of brainstorming together with the child and the parent(s) to get a feel for the child’s willingness to decrease/stop, we talk about ideas on how to stop and elucidate which technique might work best for them.

The thumb sucking habit, as how some experts believe, might start even during pre-birth. That is, when babies are still in the womb and completing the age of gestation. However, this is not yet certain. What is certain though is that this sucking reflex is firstly associated with the means on how children eat, either through breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Note: We do not advise trying to stop a sucking habit during times of transition such as starting a new school year, changes in family structure/family schedule since it is thought that the endorphins released from the suction may have a soothing effect. If the habit was significant, the first night or two without the thumb/finger can be difficult, especially if sucking a thumb/finger was part of going to sleep.