Finger Sucking or Pacifier Sucking

Thumb Sucking

Persistent harmful habits can affect the growth of the teeth and jaws and cause abnormalities. Thumb sucking and pacifier use are very common self-soothing behaviors in babies, but can be detrimental to the alignment of the teeth if it continues as children get older. Parents can help stop oral habits by comforting an anxious child and offering them praise when they are not sucking. You can ask your dentist to explain to your child how oral habits can affect the mouth to discourage the behavior. When necessary, patient counseling, behavior modification therapy or a preventive appliance can be helpful.

Tongue thrusting is a habit in which the tongue moves to a forward position in the mouth during swallowing. It can cause an open bite and other orthodontic issues. Sometimes, a night guard or another appliance can correct the problem. In other cases, oral therapy is necessary to train the patient to change the tongue’s posture.

Suggestions to break the habit:

  • Wait till the time is right (low stress).
  • Motivate your child (show examples of what could happen to their teeth and fingers/thumbs).
  • Use a reward system (small incentives will encourage your child to stick with it).