Your Questions About Thumb Sucking

thumb suckingLike many parents, you are likely concerned about the appropriate ages for thumb sucking and may be curious about potentially negative side effects. The good news is that by learning more about what to expect, you will feel informed and much more relaxed about your little one’s habits. Even better news? Even if you feel completely knowledgeable but still have some questions or concerns, we are always glad to schedule a dental checkup for your child, so we can assist in maintaining your child’s best oral health.

Q&A: Thumb Sucking

Question: I’m under the impression that it’s normal for a baby or toddler to suck his or her thumb. Is this true?

Answer: Yes, it is a natural habit for a baby or toddler to have. Thumb sucking often helps a child to feel calm and secure. As a matter of fact – it often begins before your little one enters the world. Keep in mind that this is a wonderful type of question to ask during your dental checkups.

Question: At what particular age should I start worrying if my child is still sucking his or her thumb? Will my little one stop doing this naturally?

Answer: If your child is still sucking his or her thumb around the age of four or five, the habit can begin affecting teeth alignment and speech development. The use of pacifiers during younger years or a general interest in other activities often influences a child to abandon this habit.

Question: How should I proceed if my child is five years of age or older and has not stopped thumb sucking? I’m not sure how to approach this issue.

Answer: In general, we suggest that you avoid making your child feel ashamed of thumb sucking. Instead, gently encourage your little one to stop and respond with positive reinforcement when he or she avoids the habit. For additional assistance, speak with us during your next dental checkup.