Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Posted in Case Studies, Articles, Orthodontic Treatment Options

Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Thumb sucking is a perfectly natural and healthy behaviour in small children, but if a children continues to suck his or her thumb when the permanent teeth start growing in, they may be a risk of developing teeth misalignment.


As you no doubt know, babies suck their thumbs or pacifiers for comfort. In babies and small children, this comforting beahviour should not be discouraged in babies, and most of them will stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of 2 and 4. 

When should thumb sucking stop?

You’ll run into trouble if your child continues to suck his or her thumb or pacifier once the permanent teeth have started to erupt.

Continued thumb sucking after this point can disrupt the proper alignment of the permanent teeth as they grow, and cause them to erupt in the wrong positions.

How can I help my child break the thumb sucking habit?

For most kids, breaking the thumb sucking habit isn’t too difficult. Try the following steps if it’s time for your child to stop thumb sucking:

  • Praise your child for not sucking
  • Correct causes of anxiety or discomfort for your child whenever possible, and provide other forms of comfort
  • If your child is a little older, let him or her participate in the habit breaking process
  • Have your dentist or orthodontist talk to your child about thumb sucking, and offer encouragement to stop.

If the above methods don’t work, you may need to take additional measures to break your child’s thumb sucking habit. Get in touch with Guildford Orthodontic Centre today. We’re here to help!

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