Most parents can't stand to see their children thumb sucking. Bacteria and germs are one issue, but parents should also be concerned about how this behavior will affect the proper development of their child's teeth and jaws. The problem can first appear as a slight misalignment, but as a child continues with the habit, the teeth may be become so crooked that only an orthodontist will be able to fix the issue. The earlier you catch and stop this behavior, the better for your child's oral health.

Choice

Your child needs to make the decision that they want to quit sucking their thumb. Constantly telling them to stop may spur them to continue the habit. Many children decide to stop when they enter school and realize that their classmates do not suck their thumbs. 

Find the trigger

Your child may resort to thumb sucking when they're bored, stressed or even hungry. To counter this, make sure that you have books and other activities to occupy your child during downtime. If your child is hungry, have healthy snacks like cut fruits and vegetables available.

Dental appliance

It may be necessary to visit a dentist to have a thumb habit appliance or crib installed in the mouth. A thumb crib is a wire that is attached to the upper first molars that blocks the fingers and thumbs from touching the teeth. It doesn't hurt and helps most children quit their habit.

If you have not yet made an initial consultation with an orthodontist, it is essential that you do so as soon as possible, especially if you have thumb-sucking child. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be screened by an orthodontist no later than age seven. 

Contact a New York City orthodontist today to schedule a consultation!

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