When my son was a toddler, he started sucking his thumb. As a new mom, I was worried about his health. He touched everything in sight and immediately put his thumb in his mouth, exposing him to a million germs before I could wash his hands or apply antibacterial gel. I also knew that prolonged thumb sucking could result in crooked or buck teeth, which our pediatric dentist later confirmed, and advised that our son may need to wear a special plate in his mouth to prevent thumb sucking if his habit continued at age five.
We tried dipping his thumb in vinegar, but he reacted by saying, “Yum!” Friends advised us to put a band aid on his thumb, and we went through an assortment of band aids, all of which he always managed to remove. We tried reasoning with him to stop but he just ignored us and continued to suck his thumb contentedly. We finally gave up and prayed that he would stop sucking before turning five since we heard of kids thumbsucking until they reached grade school. All of a sudden, he just stopped at approximately four years old. We should have just listened to our pediatrician when he said to just wait for him to stop on his own.
Our kids are the cutest and most loveable creatures in the planet but they also have some annoying habits, such as the following:
Thumb sucking becomes worrisome when permanent teeth begin to come out or when a finger infection develops from constant sucking. Kids typically outgrow this behavior or get rid of it once they start going to school and get teased by their contemporaries. You can also explain to your child how he is hurting his finger by comparing his sore thumb with the rest of his fingers. If he is old enough to understand, you can explain that you do not want yucky germs getting in his mouth through his thumb. You can also bring him to a dentist who can explain how their teeth might come out crooked or how their bite might not meet if he keeps on with his behavior.