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Say NoTo Thumb Sucking

30 May 2014, Dabur Dental Team

Every baby sucks his thumb, fingers, pacifiers, as soon as he can reach them. Sucking is a natural urge which comforts and relaxes the kid. However, anything in excess can be harmful.Most children give up this habit by the time they turn 4 or 5. However, ifthe same continues beyond the age of 5, when the permanent teeth begin to come in, it may affect the positioning of your child’s teeth or jaws.

The Effects:
Depending on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the sucking, the teeth can be pushed out of alignment, causing them to protrude and create an overjet in the inclination of the teeth. In fact, the upper and lower jaws can become mal-aligned and the roof of the palate might become high. In addition, your child may also have difficulty with the correct pronunciation of words along with other phonetic & speech disabilities.

Breaking The Habit:
While pacifiers can affect the teeth in essentially the same way as sucking on fingers and thumbs, its use is often an easier habit to break.To discourage thumb sucking, slowly introduce your child to a pacifier and then gradually reduce its usage too.If your child is using a pacifier,never dip it in sugar, honey or other sweeteners before giving it to the infant. Alternatively, habit breaking appliances may come in handy if the child is unable to overcome thumb sucking. Your paediatric dentist can fabricate a habit breaking appliance for your child.

Discouraging The Child:
Like many parents, you may be concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, finger sucking or pacifier use. Here is how you can discourage him from doing the same:
  • Praise your baby when you see him not sucking his thumb or pacifier. However do not scold him for engaging in this habit.
  • You can also offer rewards to your child when he or she doesn't engage in the behaviour during a difficult time.
  • Long-standing thumb or pacifier habits can be anxietyrelated. Watch your kid carefully and try and identify his source of anxiety. Finding out the root cause may help you put an end to the behaviour quite easily.
Inculcating Good Habits:
  • Set up a strict routine and make sure that your kid brushes either after every meal of at least twice daily, for 3-5 minutes each time.
  • Make him use the best toothpaste in India- Babool.
  • Make sure your child cuts down on his sugar intake as it can cause dreadful cavities at a very young age.
Ensure your baby eats a healthy and calcium rich diet that aids in the development of his teeth. Bringing up a child is a challenge at every stage. It is important for you to be aware of the various situations and stages that your child may face as he grows up. Always remember to stay informed and touch base with your paediatric dentist if a complication arises. Maintain proper oral hygiene and choose the right toothpaste to keep all dental problems away & ensure proper dental care.

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