Thumb Sucking


The causes that lead to the habit of thumb sucking have long been a mystery. Parents have tried a host of products on their children’s thumbs as a way to discourage the practice. There are products on the market that you paint on your son or daughter’s thumb or thumbnail. These products are non-toxic, but they taste horrible. The foul taste is thought to discourage thumb sucking. Instead of trying store-bought products such as these, you should try home remedies to stop thumb sucking.


Actually, the experts, such as Stephen J. Moss, D.D.S., professor and chairman of the Pediatric Dentistry Department at New York University College of Dentistry advises parents not to be too concerned if your child is under the age of five and sucks his or her thumb. Dr. Moss considers it to be fairly normal for a child between birth and three to have this habit. According to him, thumb sucking won’t affect a child’s teeth during this time either.


However, when a child reaches six years old, he or she begins to get their permanent teeth. This starts the time when thumb sucking can cause damage to their teeth. Of course, the front teeth are the most vulnerable to becoming distended. That’s due to the force that’s applied to them by the thumb and the sucking action.


So, what are some effective home remedies to stop thumb sucking? First, you have to find out what the cause of thumb sucking is, if you can. According to the National Center for Children Exposed To Violence (NCCEV), children under the age of five years of age are “heavily affected by their parent’s responses to trauma.” This can cause children to be overcome by anxiety. Their anxiety can lead to clutching to their parents, crying, screaming, wetting the bed, having nightmares, and… sucking their thumbs. Since children are unable to deal completely with their emotions, they are prone to frequent bouts of anxiety.


Still, there are home remedies you can use to help stop your son or daughter’s thumb sucking habit. Especially if he or she is six years old or older and you want to avoid having to pay for braces to straighten his or her teeth later on.


Children who suck their thumbs also tend to develop speech problems. They have problems pronouncing the “S” sound and other sounds that require using the tip of the tongue.


And, sometimes a thumb can actually develop minor health problems from the constant moisture and sucking action it’s exposed to. Calluses, dry, cracked skin, and nail infections are common examples of these minor health problems.


The first home remedy you need to know about is dealing with your child’s anxiety. If he or she has more stress than normal in his or her life, this can be causing their thumb sucking habit. So, talk to your child about his or her fears. You may be surprised at what you find out! He or she may need more love and attention than your other children do.


Another home remedy to stop thumb sucking is to give your child rewards for stopping. Make up a page on your computer and print it out so you two can keep track of their progress on a daily basis. Pulling their thumb out of their mouth, yelling, threatening, and embarrassing a child isn’t going to help the matter. Instead, explain to your son or daughter why it’s important that he or she stop. Then, decide together on how your child is going to accomplish this with your help.


The rewards can be some time spent at the local park, a visit to the zoo, an extra story at bedtime, a small toy, et cetera.


Another home remedy to stop thumb sucking is to help make your child aware of their habit. Habits are hard to break. Your son or daughter can stick their thumb in their mouth without even realizing it. A good way to discourage thumb sucking, and keep your child aware to stop, is to place a small dab of perfume on his or her thumb. The taste will discourage thumb sucking. Plus, the smell will help remind them of its purpose.