How common is thumb sucking in adults?

What to do with thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is a common "bad habit" among children. Up to a certain point in time and a certain intensity, thumb-sucking initially poses no danger. Thumb sucking has its roots in completely natural reflexes. Before the birth, the unborn child is already suckling on its hand or thumb.

Thumb sucking is a calming reflex. By sucking the thumb, babies and toddlers feel safe and calm down on their own. Children usually give up sucking their thumbs on their own. Only when it becomes a permanent habit and children cannot calm down or fall asleep without sucking on the hand does it become a long-term harmful "habit".

How long does thumb sucking usually take?

Most children give up thumb sucking without parental control when they are 2 to 4 years old. In older children, peer pressure often puts an end to this habit. But even if you as a parent observe that your child is no longer sucking their thumb, they can still fall back during the night or in stressful situations.

When do you have to act when sucking your thumb?

As a rule, you can let your child suck their thumbs until the permanent teeth erupt. From this point on, the “habit” can influence the shape of the palate or the position of the teeth. Even if your child sucks the hand or thumb very intensely and strongly, you should intervene early, as this can lead to complications even in babies or toddlers.

Possible consequences of thumb sucking:

  • Influence on tooth growth
  • Jaw deformation
  • Open bite

How can I stop my child from sucking their thumbs?

Talk to your child about thumb sucking and that it is better for their dental health to give up this habit. If your child wants to take off the habit themselves, the chances of success are much greater. Sometimes that can be enough. Also, use these methods:

Positive reinforcement

Praise your child and give away small rewards if they manage to stop sucking their thumbs. A calendar with stickers or stamps for days without sucking your thumb can also help.

Identify the triggers

If your child relies on sucking the thumb in stressful situations, try to find out the underlying reason and give solace in other ways, such as hugging or cuddling with a special cuddly toy.

Gentle intervention

If your child does mentally thumb sucking, gently remind them to stop. Do not scold. Perhaps agree on a secret sign or signal word so as not to expose your child in society.

How can 360 ° braces help?

If you are unsure whether sucking your thumb could have negative consequences for your child, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also support you and your child in breaking the habit. Sometimes a conversation with one of our orthodontists (or children's dentists at 360 ° Milchzahn) helps about why it is important to give up thumb sucking better than the parenting conversation can.

Would you like advice on how to stop sucking your thumb? Do you have any questions about thumb sucking? Contact us! We would be happy to advise you in a first appointment in our 360 ° braces orthodontics in Düsseldorf Oberbilk.

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