180 West End Avenue, Suite 1E, New York, NY 10023

New Patients: (212) 500-0379
Existing Patients: (212) 362-5517

Don’t Let Your Child’s Thumb-sucking Linger

March 29, 2024

Getting a young child to quit sucking her (or his) thumb—a habit that makes her feel secure, comfortable and happy—can be quite a challenge. Most little ones drop the dependency between ages 2 and 4. For those who don’t, parental intervention is needed due to the oral and social issues that thumb-sucking can cause down the line. 

The treatment approach at the office of Jerry Ashrafi, DMD, MA PLLC is tailored to meet the unique needs of each child. Whether it’s using techniques such as dental sealants to prevent cavities or employing behavior management strategies to help anxious or fearful children feel at ease during their visits, we ensure that each child receives personalized care.

Overextended thumb-sucking can cause dental difficulties such as: 

  • Proper mouth development and teeth alignment
  • Alternations to the palate (roof of the mouth)
  • An open bite (the top and bottom teeth don’t align when the jaw is closed) 
  • A speech impediment
  • Abnormal wear on other teeth due to uneven pressure on them
  • chewing and swallowing problems
  • Taunting from peers and siblings

No single remedy works for every child. Moms and dads might have to try out which works for their offspring. These tips can help your child make that transition.

  • Tell her why she needs to stop sucking her thumb and its dental consequences if she doesn’t.
  • Distract her with activities that will keep her mind and hands busy. 
  • Give her encouragement and praise when she doesn’t suck her thumb for extended periods.
  • Do your best to keep her in environments that are comfortable and calm; they’ll suppress her urge to engage her thumb.
  • Before she goes down for a nap and turns in for the night, place a bandage or glove on her thumb, or employ a thumb-sucking guard. It will stop her from finding the familiar comfort she’s looking for.

The office of Jerry Ashrafi, DMD, MA PLLC can give you more prevention tips. We educate children and their parents on the importance of good oral hygiene habits, proper nutrition and regular dental check-ups. By promoting protective measures early on, we help set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Please call us today to make an appointment.

180 West End Avenue, Suite 1E, New York, NY 10023
New Patients: (212) 500-0379
Existing Patients: (212) 362-5517