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Childhood-diseases

Question
Posted by: Mommy | 2008/01/18

Q.

Thumb sucking

Hi doc
My 5 year old little girl has started sucking her thumb when she was 3 months old and is still sucking. She sucks it when she is tired and until she goes to sleep at night. She has a satin blankie that she wipes against her face while sucking her thumb. I do not send the blankie to school (she is there for most of the day), but feel too sorry for her to just take it away - it really gives her comfort and she only ask for it when it is bedtime.
Her teeth still looks fine, but I have read that it would be better for kids not to suck their thumb still when they get their permament teeth.
Is there any way that I can stop the thumbsucking? I have heard of something that the dentist can put in that will hurt the thumb when sucking and that will stop the sucking, but it just sounds very extreme. My way of parenting was always to not put to much pressure on things like potty training, sleeping in own room, dummies, etc. because eventually they all get it right - and it always goes better if you do not push them too much. This approach has always been very effective for my kids, except with the thumbsucking problem.

Expert's Reply

A.

Paediatrician

Your approach is the same as mine and it is really the way to go. Your daughter will give up her thumbsucking by herself. The main thing is not to put any pressure on her and especially not to mention it all the time as this reinforces the habit.

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