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Even though thumb-sucking in children is natural, it can lead to a host of problems. To begin with, it can knock teeth out of alignment, stunt the growth of teeth coming in, and lower self-esteem due to a curved jaw and smile. Switching a child onto a pacifier is no better, as many of the same issues will begin to develop. Instead, work on teaching the child to curb the habit.

Your child’s oral health services for thumb sucking prevention features the following attributes:

– If your child has not stopped by 4 years of age, you should begin to try to be more proactive to help them break the habit.
– Although pacifiers may seem like an appropriate alternative to thumb sucking, they are not, as they can cause the same type of damage to your child’s teeth.
– Spend a few moments when your child is sucking their thumb to explain to them the effect thumb sucking can have on their teeth.
– Think about ways to encourage or praise your child when they stop sucking their thumb including giving them a treat or gift that helps to remind them to not suck their thumb.
– As is often the case, a pediatrician can help with the child’s habit by coating their finger in a foul tasting substance.

If you would like to schedule a thumb sucking treatment with Dr. Neal Smith and the rest of our team at Central Washington Pediatric Dentistry, simply call our pediatric office at 509-248-2973 for an appointment in Yakima, Washington. We look forward to hearing from you.