Colgate Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center

Innovative toothpastes to clean and brighten every type of smile.

Toothpastes

A toothbrush for every type of smile, designed with comfort and results in mind.

Toothbrushes

Colgate kids' products make brushing fun and encourage routine use.

Kids' Products

Oral care products available exclusively through dental professionals.

Products From the Dentist

Professional grade oral care, available without a prescription.

Other Oral Care

Every smile is unique and requires a different type of care. Colgate has a solution for every smile.

Search by Benefit
Font size

Tips to break thumb-suckers

You may think there’s no end to your child’s thumb-sucking but the American Dental Association has some tips for how to break the natural habit.

Sucking is a natural reflex for children and can be soothing and relaxing. Sucking on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world.

But after the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth and cause changes in the roof of the mouth. The intensity of the dental problems that can arise depends on the intensity of the sucking.

Usually, children stop sucking their thumbs between 2 and 4 years old but should permanently stop by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Pacifiers can also cause dental problems but is often an easier habit to break.

The ADA offers the following tips for how to break the thumb-sucking habit:

• Praise children for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they are.
• Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
• For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
• Your dentist can offer encouragement to a child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.
• If the above tips don’t work, remind the child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. Your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance.

For these tips and more oral health resources, visit “www.ada.org”, click on the public resources tab, then oral health topics.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

11/10/2010

ColgatePalmolive.com  |  Colgate.com  |  Legal/Privacy  |  Colgate.com Site Map  |  Contact Us
© Colgate-Palmolive Company. All rights reserved.
You are viewing the United States site.