How to Encourage Kids to Stop Thumb-Sucking

How to Encourage Kids to Stop Thumb-Sucking

Thumb sucking is very normal and children under the age of five usually suck their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or even toys.

Sucking objects is a habit that gives children comfort and emotional security. However if it continues after permanent teeth start to appear, this practice can cause an impact on teeth. It can cause misaligned teeth and even produce an overbite. As a result of thumb sucking, your child may also experience difficulty in the correct pronunciation of words.

You can encourage your kid to stop thumb sucking with various techniques.

Thumb sucking provides comfort and security to the child, and they need to decide for themselves to stop doing it. However you can always encourage them by using positive reinforcement. No scolding, nagging or punishments will do the trick since it will make the child feel insecure and will drive him to simply go back to the habit. Always use praise and rewards.

One technique is to reward the child for the period of time that he has achieved without sucking on the thumb, as he continues to improve on the time reward him after longer periods have been achieved.

The younger the child, the more frequent the rewards will be needed to encourage the new behavior. For children who want to stop, cover the finger or thumb with a band-aid as a reminder. Take the thumb or finger out of the mouth after your child falls asleep.

To help older children break the habit, it is very important to observe and determine the causes. What is making your child suck his thumb? Is there anything that stresses him?

Find out what stresses your child faces and try to correct the situation. Once the problem is gone, your child often finds it is easier to give up sucking.

As a last resource, there are dental appliances your child can wear in the mouth to prevent sucking. These appliances are cemented to the upper teeth, sit on the roof of the mouth, and make thumb sucking harder and less pleasurable.

By: Prisma Dental

For any questions about our dental services you can contact us at or to our phone numbers: (506) 2291-5151 in Costa Rica or toll free at 866-741-8194 in United States.

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Comments (3)

  • Betty Reply

    Great article..thumb sucking is very natural. Both of my children did so, but we had to use a product called glovey huggey to get them to stop.

    December 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm
    • Prisma Dental Reply

      Hello Betty, thank you for sharing, surely our readers will benefit from your advice.

      December 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm
  • Prevent Open Bites | Prisma Dental Reply

    […] How to Encourage Kids to Stop Thumb-Sucking […]

    June 10, 2014 at 9:49 pm

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