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Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Posted in Orthodontic Treatment Options, Articles

Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Thumb sucking is a natural and healthy behaviour in babies, but it can result in the development of a malocclusion once the permanent teeth start erupting.


The thumb sucking behaviour should not be discouraged in babies and very small children; its quite normal, and they do it for comfort. Most children stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of 2 and 4. Until this time, thumb sucking is both natural and healthy, and nothing to worry about!

When should thumb sucking stop?

You’ll start to encounter problems if your child continues to suck his or her thumb or pacifier after the permanent teeth have begun to erupt.

If thumb sucking continues after that, it can disrupt the normal alignment of permanent teeth as they grow in. Basically, it may cause permanent teeth to grow into the wrong positions.

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

This habit isn’t usually too difficult to break. Here are a few things to try if it’s time for your child to stop sucking his or her thumb:

  • Praise your child for not sucking
  • Have your dentist or orthodontist talk to your child about thumb sucking, and encourage him or her to stop.
  • Correct any causes of anxiety or discomfort for your child whenever possible, and provide alternative forms of comfort
  • Let older children participate in the habit breaking process

If these methods aren't helping, additional measures may be necessary to break your child’s thumb sucking habit. Get in touch with Austin Heights Orthodontics today. We’re here to help!