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Does your child suck on their thumb? Does this habit cause you concern? Thumbsucking is a common and normal act for young children, but it can also become a hazard. We offer insight into why thumbsucking can be harmful and how you can help your child break the habit.

During a child’s first years, they may develop a habit of sucking on their thumb in order to comfort themselves. However, about the time that a child is four years of age, this behavior should be discouraged. A frequent thumbsucking habit could affect their oral development and cause unwanted changes in the palate.

Often children overcome this habit on their own time as they get over and take on more socially acceptable behavior. However, if your child’s habit persists, you can try the following tactics:

– Give your child praise as they work to overcome the habit.
– Track your child’s progress using a reward chart.
– You may find that placing a glove or bandage over your child’s thumb serves as an effective reminder.
– Strive to maintain positive reinforcement so that your child doesn’t become stressed and suck their thumb more often.
– Speak with our team at DM Family Dentistry for more tips to quit thumbsucking.

If your child is still sucking on their thumb by the time they are of kindergarten age, it could affect the alignment of their teeth, potentially causing the front teeth to jut out and change the way their permanent teeth come in. If needed, our pediatric dentist can provide corrective dental care for your child.

If you have questions about thumbsucking in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Doris Madrigal, please contact our office at 847-740-8827 today.