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Sioux Falls, SD 57105
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Thumb Sucking: Q&A with Your Pediatric Dentist in Sioux Falls

January 11, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — familydentalsioux @ 8:46 pm
child sucking thumb

As you rock your baby to sleep, you notice that they like to suck on their thumb. They look so peaceful and so adorable that you wouldn’t disturb their slumber for anything in the world. Although their thumb sucking is cute and useful while they are an infant, if it continues beyond a certain age, you may need to do something about it to help your child to have normal oral development. Check out this helpful information from your pediatric dentist in Sioux Falls about this common habit and how to get your child to kick it.

Is it okay if my toddler sucks their thumb?

Although many dentists recommend ending thumb sucking as early as possible, some toddlers who occasionally suck their thumbs mildly may not experience negative effects. However, if your child aggressively sucks their thumb, it can cause problems even with their baby teeth. Most children stop sucking their thumb between ages 2 and 4 on their own, but you may want to address thumb sucking early on to avoid potential problems in the future. If your child reaches age 4 and still sucks their thumb, you should seriously consider addressing the issue.

How does thumb sucking affect my child’s oral development?

According to the American Dental Association, especially once a child has permanent teeth growing in, thumb sucking can lead to problems with teeth alignment and proper growth of the mouth. For example, it can change how the roof of the mouth is developed. Front teeth may jut out, causing their front top and bottom teeth to not touch. The sooner the habit can be stopped, the better the chance that your child’s bite will correct itself.

How can I help my child stop sucking their thumb?

Unlike with a pacifier, you can’t take their thumb away, and it can be difficult to get them not to suck it. Thumb sucking is often used as a soothing technique, so they may do it when they feel insecure or when drifting off to dreamland. There are several ways you can remove the need for comfort:

  • Address the cause of their anxiety.
  • Provide healthier soothing methods, such as holding a stuffed toy or deep breathing.
  • If they are older, involve them in choosing a new coping mechanism.
  • Praise them for not sucking their thumb.
  • At bedtime or for naps, use a soft blanket or toy to calm them down.
  • Have your children’s dentist in Sioux Falls help with encouragement.

You would do anything to protect your precious child. That should include protecting their oral health and development. As you implement these tips for ending thumb sucking, you’ll keep their smile happy and healthy for years to come. For more information about pediatric oral care, contact your pediatric dentist in Sioux Falls.

About the Author

At Family Dentistry of Sioux Falls, five talented dentists, and their staff offer a full spectrum of dental services for the entire family, including young children. From dental implants to relaxation dentistry to routine checkups and cleanings, Family Dentistry of Sioux Falls can address all your dental needs under one roof. To contact them, call (605) 339-0219 or click here.

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