When a Parent Should Prevent Thumb Sucking

There are a few warning signs that will tip a parent off that it is time to prevent thumb sucking. If the thumb sucking has gotten in the way of the child’s tooth growth and placement, if the thumb sucking interferes with normal speech, if the child gets sick more often than other children, or if teasing by other children of the same age occurs, it is probably a good idea to start preventing thumb sucking.

Children who constantly suck their thumbs are at a much higher risk of developing bucked teeth and/or spaces between their teeth from uneven growth. Thumb sucking can also cause lisps and other speech impediments because the tongue thrusts out every time the child sucks and swallows on the underside of their thumb, and does not advance to mature swallowing where they will not thrust their tongue out every time they swallow (as an infant does when sucking on a bottle, pacifier, finger, or thumb.)

If your child is sucking his thumb, they can be at a greater risk for picking up common colds and flu’s more frequently. This happens because the child will go through the day touching objects with tons of bacteria on them, and then stick the unwashed thumb right back into their mouth. If you see your child is getting sick more often than not, or is sick more often than other children their age, it is probably a good time to start preventing thumb sucking.

Another side effect of thumb sucking may be the teasing from other children. This may happen because your child is an older age than most children when they normally stop sucking their thumbs. A child may also be teased because of their gapped or bucked teeth. We all know that children can be very hurtful at times, so doing everything possible to help ease teasing is definitely on a parent’s to-do list.

All of the reasons listed above are great reasons to prevent thumb sucking in your child. Not only will preventing thumb sucking improve your child’s health and wellness, but it asserts a new sense of independence in your child when they do not need to fall back on thumb sucking any more. We all want our children safe, happy, and healthy, and preventing thumb sucking beyond the normal infant/early toddler stages is a great way to show love to your children.

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