Month: January 2020

When Should Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb?

Because of humans’ protective nature over their friends, family members, partners, and even colleagues, we worry a lot about things. And usually, we have reason to worry. But when you sit down and give it a quick thought, you should realize that all of these people can take care of themselves (mostly). Children, however, are a different story. Especially infants. No matter what happens or how safe they are, you will worry infinitely about your kids, because you are their protectors, their providers, and their means of a healthy life.

But sometimes, you can be so protective that you don’t realize you’re letting your child do something harmful to themselves. One of those habits worth kicking after a certain amount of time? Thumb and pacifier sucking. It’s important to keep in mind that thumb sucking is a natural reflex for infants, though. It begins before your child is even born, so the fact that infants still put their thumb or something else in their mouth is completely normal: it makes them feel safe (as if they were still in the womb).

The same goes for young children, too. If they get scared or anxious, they may pop their thumb in their mouth in habit. But if it’s only for a quick period of time, there’s not much to worry about. The problem, however, is when the thumb sucking becomes prolonged. It can cause the mouth to grow improperly and even affect the alignment of their teeth. The roof of the mouth may also become affected, causing it to be misshapen. So it’s important to look at how your child sucks their thumb. If it’s relaxed and mostly just resting in their mouth, that won’t cause much harm. But if they vigorously suck on their thumb and you can see it happening, they may experience more difficulty with their teeth as they age.

All you have to remember is that, if it continues, you should something over the thumb or even have your dentist prescribe a device to put in their mouth to help avoid thumb sucking. It may pain you to see this restriction in place, but it’s well worth the problems you’ll be avoiding for your children down the road. Ultimately, we do the things we do for the health and safety of our kids, and sometimes that means doing “unpleasant” things in the time being to help them with their future.