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It is a typical behavior for young children to suck their thumbs. Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz, along with our team, want to make you aware of potential issues that may arise if this habit persists.

Infants often explore the function of their mouths by inserting objects like their thumbs. It’s entirely normal for babies to suck their thumbs, and there’s generally no cause for concern. In fact, thumb sucking can help stimulate the growth and development of baby teeth in infants.

While it is not problematic for infants, thumb sucking can become an issue as children grow and their baby teeth begin to fall out, usually around six years of age. If your child’s adult teeth are starting to come in, continued thumb sucking may lead to problems involving the alignment of teeth and the growth of the jaw, gums, and the roof of the mouth, according to the American Dental Association.

Thumb sucking may also affect speech development, causing a lisp or other speech impediments. As a parent, you may need to intervene if thumb sucking starts to become a bigger issue for your child.

Here are some tips on how to help your child stop thumb sucking:

  1. Provide comfort to your child if thumb sucking occurs when they are anxious.
  2. Limit thumb sucking initially to bedtime or naptime.
  3. Use positive reinforcement for good behavior.
  4. Talk to your child about the potential problems associated with this habit.
  5. Distract your child with fun activities whenever you notice thumb sucking.
  6. Involve your child in choosing methods for stopping, such as positive rewards.
  7. Allow Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz to talk to your child to reinforce concerns about thumb sucking.

It’s important to remember that thumb sucking is a common habit among many children, and it typically does not pose an immediate concern. If you are worried about your child’s thumb-sucking habit, addressing the issue early on can be beneficial. The above techniques can help reduce the duration of thumb sucking. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call our Boca Raton office, and we will be happy to assist you and your child.

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