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Does your child have a thumbsucking habit that causes you concern? Thumbsucking is a common practice for young children, but it can pose a risk to oral health. We offer some insight into when thumbsucking can become hazardous and how you can encourage your child to quit.

Many children suck their thumbs during their first years as a means to comfort themselves, but they should be ceasing this about at about four years of age. Otherwise, frequently sucking their thumbs could impede oral development and affect the palate.

Most children simply stop this habit and replace it with socially acceptable behavior as they get older, but if your child seems to insist on sucking their thumb, you can try the following methods to help them quit:

– Use praise when your child makes an effort to cease their habit.
– Track how they are progressing with a fun reward chart.
– Remind them not to suck their thumb by covering it with a glove or bandage.
– Use gentle and positive reinforcement to keep your child from becoming stressed and sucking their thumb all the time.
– Speak with Dr. Praveen Mandera if you would like further advice on how to stop thumbsucking.

Around the kindergarten age, a thumbsucking habit can change tooth alignment, making the front teeth jut out and preventing the permanent teeth from erupting properly. If needed, your child can see our pediatric dentist for corrective dental care to encourage proper oral development.

If you would like to learn more about thumbsucking in Manchester, New Hampshire, and need to schedule an appointment with our team, please contact New Hampshire Family Dentistry at (603) 625-1877 today.