The habit of thumb sucking may harm your child: what are the causes? and treatment methods

The habit of thumb sucking may harm your child: what are the causes? and treatment methods


Finger sucking is a common habit among children. Children resort to such behavior to feel comfortable and safe, sometimes to attract attention, and also to sleep. Which confuses the parents. How long will the child continue to suck his finger? And how can this habit be overcome to protect it from the consequences of continuing this matter?

How long does a thumb sucking habit last?

Babies usually stop putting their fingers in their mouths when they are 6 or 7 months old, or between 2 and 4 years old. Although the child will give up this habit, he may return to this behavior when he is stressed.

When is that worrisome?

Thumb sucking is not a problem until the permanent teeth erupt, which can affect the alignment of the teeth and palate. The severity of dental problems depends on the number and intensity of finger sucking in a child.

Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child treat the habit of thumb sucking if it continues until the age of five.

However, on the other hand, some experts believe that it is necessary to cure this habit at the age of three.

It should be noted that trying to prevent the child from sucking his thumb by scolding or punishment or pulling the finger from the mouth can be counterproductive. Experts believe that such attempts could lead to a power struggle.

Read also: Treatment of nail biting in children

Methods of treating the habit of sucking fingers

Several methods can be used to help your child quit the habit, especially if the child feels the need to quit.

However, you should avoid criticizing, blaming or ridiculing the child, as this is not an effective help, but it may make the situation worse. About treatment methods:

1. Talk to the child

By talking about the dangers of the habit and the necessity of stopping while using words of praise and offering simple rewards when you stop sucking your thumb, such as:

  • Telling bedtime stories
  • candy reward
  • Treat yourself to a night out or a trip to the park

The reward can come at the end of every week or every month that the sucking habit stops.

2. A message of reassurance

If thumb sucking is stressful, try to comfort your child and make him feel secure, for example, with soothing words or hugs.

Baby can also be provided with a pillow or toy as a stuffed animal to hold on to when stressed.

3. Use bitter tasting liquid

A bitter-tasting liquid is applied to a child’s nails rather than directly on his finger, especially at night, which can be effective in stopping this habit by reminding the child of this bitter taste.

It should be noted that these products are available in pharmacies without a prescription.

4. Use natural recipes

Some natural recipes can be used instead of buying a bitter tasting liquid, which can lead to the same results. As with little:

  • hot sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • neem leaves with milk
  • the salt
  • curry
  • cactus
  • bitterness – bitter

It is also used by placing it on the fingers of a child. They are all recipes with a bitter or spicy taste that can make your child stop sucking his thumb.

5. Wear gloves:

Wearing mittens, a finger splint or a bandage at night can help remind your child to stop the habit.

It may take up to 6 weeks or longer to stop thumb sucking.

6. Consultation with a doctor:

If you are concerned about your child, especially if he is over three years old. You can talk to your doctor as there may be other treatment options such as: b. Oral devices to prevent sucking.


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