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I admit it. I sucked my fingers - the ring and middle finger on my right hand. I did it waayyyy longer than age five, which is when dentists recommend your kids stop doing any habit that can alter their dental candidate is sucking a thumb or fingers or on a pacifier.

Of course, kids suck on a thumb to soothe themselves, usually around naptime or bedtime, which, on the one hand, is a great ability, but as permanent teeth start to appear, it can throw off their placement and affect your kiddo's bite and palate.

Breaking the habit can be really hard. Dentists say look at how often your child does it and when - just before sleep or all the time at home? Does he suck on it in front of the television or in the car? See if you can start to decrease the amount of time and when your kiddo does it - heap lots of praise and rewards as he's trying to give it up. Think up different things he can do instead of sucking his thumb that occupy his hands.

Finger sucking isn't the only bad habit to hurt teeth: chewing ice and gnawing on pencils are also behaviors many kids start up and then have a hard time cutting out. Be on the lookout for those as well, to nip them before they turn into tooth-hurting habits!

Share your stories of sucking thumbs here! 






by on Jun. 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-28):
by on Jun. 19, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Neither of my kids did that. And I took the pacifier by age 2. 

by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:04 AM

My son sucked his thumb until he was 4 or 5- at that point he said he was ready to be a big boy and was done with it.  My daughter still sucks her thumb off and on at 6- but she is only allowed at bed time, same with my 2 year old- it's a habit my one year old never picked up, which is nice.  

by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:05 AM

Quoting Bmat:

I'd read to give them the pacifier as much as they'll take it and that at age 3 months they'd spit it out and never have a sucking problem. It worked for both of my children.

I wish that helped with my kids!  They all decided the thumb was better at some point.  

by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:07 AM

Quoting KristinRox:

None of my kids have ever been big on thumb sucking. I however, was a thumb sucker. Way passed age 5. It was like a habit that I had to actually work at to break. My teeth are nice and straight.. thankfully.

I didnt know chomping on ice was a no no... I still do that now. Perhaps Ill have to stop?

My daughter loves to eat ice too- she also will eat frozen fruit and veggies- it's funny to see her trying to break into the freezer to get at the bag of frozen green beans, although I do worry about her teeth!

by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 5:09 AM

Quoting elasmimi:

My granddaughter was 8 and still sucked her thumb. We offered her $500 to quit for a year. She did it, got the money, (not all in her little 9 y/o hands) and started back. She is 30 now, and still does it. She has perfect teeth, never needed braces.

Wow, that would have been some serious motivation!  I would have made her pay it back if she started again, lol!

by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 7:32 AM

 I didn't know that about chewing ice.  I know lots of people that do that.

by Sarah on Jun. 21, 2012 at 6:55 PM

My son never sucked his thumb and was done with his binky by 1yr old.

by Bethany on Jun. 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM
My kids both did pacifiers, no thumb-sucking. When I was in high school, I babysat for a little girl who sucked her thumb so bad that it got red and scaly, and the skin would peel off. So glad my kids never got into it like that!
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