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At What Age Should a Child Stop Sucking His or Her Thumb?

At What Age Should My Child Stop Sucking His Or Her Thumb

Thumb-sucking is a natural habit for children.

It’s something that relaxes them and causes them to feel more secure, and it might even aid sleep. That being said, if it continues for more than a couple of years, the habit can cause numerous dental issues.

As permanent teeth are replacing the primary teeth, thumb-sucking can disrupt the general growth of the mouth, including the alignment of the teeth. It can also cause unhealthy changes to the roof of the mouth.

For the most part, kids stop sucking their thumbs at the time adult teeth are ready to come in—somewhere between 2-4 years of age. The children who continue to suck their thumbs past this stage are at a higher risk for damage.

An additional influence that determines whether damage will occur or not is the vigor of the child’s sucking. Children who suck their thumbs with force will have more dental problems than children who only place their thumb in their mouth. In fact, children who suck their thumbs intensely have been known to develop issues before the emergence of their permanent teeth.

Here are just some tips to help get your children to stop sucking their thumbs:

  • Treating the cause of any anxiety that is provoking them to suck their thumb in the first place.
  • Praise your child for not thumb-sucking.
  • Ask Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn to explain the risks and offer advice.

If you see that your child is still sucking his or her thumb past the emergence of their permanent teeth, and you aren’t able to rid the problem yourself, it’s a wise idea to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn—before problems arise.

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