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Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Posted in Articles, Orthodontic Treatment Options

Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

While thumb sucking is a perfectly natural and healthy behaviour in very small children, it can pose a serious risk of their developing a malocclusion once the permanent teeth begin to erupt.


Most babies suck their thumbs or pacifiers for comfort. This behaviour should not be discouraged in babies and very small children, most of whom stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of 2 and 4. Up until this point, thumb sucking is both natural and healthy, and nothing to worry about!

When should thumb sucking stop?

Where you’ll run into trouble is if your child continues to suck his or her thumb or pacifier once the permanent teeth start to erupt.

Continuous thumb sucking can disrupt the proper alignment of the permanent teeth as they grow. In other words, it may cause permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong positions.

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

In most cases, breaking the thumb sucking habit isn’t too difficult. Here are a few things you can try 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, you may need to take additional measures to break your child’s thumb sucking habit. Get in touch with Langley Orthodontics today. We’re here to help!

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