Sucking the thumb/finger(s) or the pacifier is a normal habit of many children. Due to factors like frequency, duration, intensity and position, such a habit can adversely affect the position of the jaws and cause a malformed palate. As the child ages, the jaw bones continue to grow and make changes. If the child continues the habit as he/she approaches age 4, such undesirable changes start to become permanent. Therefore, it is important to break the habit by age four. See your pediatric dentist for further information.
Tips for Breaking the Habit:
- Wait until 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!)
- Read a book about thumb sucking.