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Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Posted in Articles, Orthodontic Treatment Options

Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Thumb sucking is a normal and healthy behaviour in very small children, but it can cause malocclusion (teeth misalignment) issues once the permanent teeth begin to erupt, so the habit should be broken before that point.


Babies suck their thumbs or pacifiers to comfort themselves. Thumb sucking therefore shouldn't be discouraged in babies and very small children, and most will stop sucking their thumbs on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. Up until this point, thumb sucking is nothing to worry about!

When should thumb sucking stop?

You’ll start running into trouble if your child continues the thumb sucking or pacifier habit once the permanent teeth start to erupt.

Thumb sucking as the permanent teeth grow in can disrupt their proper alignment, meaning they could erupt in the wrong positions.

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

Breaking the thumb sucking habit isn’t too difficult in most kids. You can try the following steps if it’s time for your child to stop thumb sucking:

  • Praise your child for not sucking
  • Correct causes of anxiety or discomfort for your child whenever possible, and provide other forms of comfort
  • If your child is a little older, let him or her participate in the habit breaking process
  • Have your dentist or orthodontist talk to your child about thumb sucking, and offer encouragement to stop.

If the above methods don’t work, there are additional measure you can take to break your child's thumb sucking habit. Get in touch with Vancouver Orthodontics today. We’re here to help!

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