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Thumb Sucking Clinic – How Old Is Too Old For Thumb Sucking

By August 27, 2019 No Comments

Parenthood is an exciting journey , presenting itself as an emotional whirlwind from the day a child is born to the time that they finally fly on their own and move out of the house. As the years go by, however, some children have the tendency to retain certain habits much longer than they should.

Whether it’s tantrums that are hard to control, constant teething, there are tendencies that latch on for quite a while— none of them as common as thumb sucking.

Why do babies suck their thumbs?

Let’s take a look at the reason why babies actually suck their thumbs in the first place:

Infants have the urge to suck their thumbs that they can’t control. It is a natural instinct that every baby exhibits. Often, the sucking motion is associated with hunger or the need to eat, as babies usually eat through breastfeeding or through a bottle— both of which require sucking.

Aside from indicating their hunger, thumb sucking also helps provide children with a feeling of safety and works as a way of self-soothing, especially when their surroundings put them at unease.

As innocent as thumb sucking may seem, however, it holds certain repercussions for children if they sustain the habit past the age of three.  This is especially true when it comes to their dental health.

Why is thumb sucking bad for dental health?

Research shows that thumb and fingers sucking can result in a variety of dental problems related to tooth and jaw alignment. Thumb sucking is most detrimental for dental health even before the permanent teeth erupt as it can affect the development of the palate and jaws.

When should you pay attention?

Generally, if your child still sucks their thumb after the age of three, then you should definitely keep an eye on their oral development and health.  Its a good time to begin discouraging the habit.

How can you stop the habit?

In order to ensure that the quitting process is as gentle as possible, here are a few effective and stress-free tips you can use to stop thumb-sucking:

  • Consult your dentist or oral habits specialist
  • Offer encouragement by giving your child positive reinforcement
  • Figure out the other factors that cause them to suck their thumb.

It may take time, vigilance, and maybe even a few little tears, but helping your child break the habit will benefit them in the long term.

We’re The Thumbsucking Clinci and we  help children and families with sucking habits like thumbs, fingers and pacifiers – get in touch today to see how we can help!