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Is thumb-sucking harming your child’s oral health?

Thumb sucking is a natural behaviour for a baby, providing comfort and contentment. Most young children will stop thumb or finger sucking on their own between ages two and four. Others find it more difficult to stop, and the habit can cause problems when it continues beyond this age, altering the development of their teeth and jaws. When a child sucks their thumb, the action can pull the upper teeth forward while elongating and narrowing the upper jaw.

Helping your child to stop

Some children use thumb sucking to soothe anxieties and addressing these problems can help them to quit. When your child manages not to suck their thumb, offer lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Try not to scold them if you notice they are sucking their thumb because this could make your child feel more anxious or insecure, worsening the problem.

If your child has difficulty quitting thumb sucking, then we can offer practical advice and help.