Hidden Hazards of Thumb-sucking

While an estimated 95% of babies will suck their thumb reflexively, thumb-sucking becomes a habit after age two. Once thought to be an endearing habit that will quickly be outgrown, thumb-sucking has been tied to a variety of dental, speech, and health issues.

While some parents and caregivers have resorted to tactics such as dipping the child’s thumb in Tabasco sauce or bitter-tasting substances, an anti thumb sucking device such as the TGuard is a more humane alternative. Nipping thumb-sucking in the bud makes good sense for your child’s overall health and well-being.

Dealing With Dental Problems

Thumb-sucking and finger sucking have been tied to dental problems such as overbite (“buck teeth”) under bite, and other conditions that can impact the eruption of your child’s permanent teeth.Crooked teeth can end up being the end result of thumb-sucking, which can impact your child’s self-esteem and well-being as they enter grade school and middle school. Devices such as plastic thumb guards can help your child break their thumb-sucking habit.

Speech Problems

Thumb sucking and finger sucking have been tied to the development of speech problems in young children. An estimated 5% of children will exhibit speech issues by the first grade. Speech issues can impact a child’s developing self-esteem and self-confidence. Children with speech disorders are also more likely to be targeted for bullying by their peers.

Health Issues

Babies’ and kids’ hands play host to over 3,200 bacteria. While exposure to bacteria and viruses is a normal part of childhood, thumb-suckers introduce even more bacteria and viruses into their system. It’s common for little ones to play in the dirt and begin to suck their thumb out of habit. Misaligned teeth can make chewing tough, which impacts digestion in the long run.

Social Implications

It’s no secret: children can be cruel. A child who sucks their thumb in school can end up being the target of bullies. The sing-song “Kindergarten Baby” chant on the playground could end up following a thumb-sucking child into the higher grades beyond kindergarten.Teachers, activity leaders, and coaches may wrongfully label a thumb-sucking child as immature, infantile, or lazy, which in turn could impact how those adults treat that child.

Help For Thumbsuckers

An anti thumb sucking device such as a guard or glove can ease your child away from thumb sucking without having to resort to the crueler remedies of days past. Little ones can gain confidence and older children can learn to curb this negative habit in an age-appropriate manner with the right amount of parental support and a thumb sucking device that is developmentally appropriate for your child. Anti thumb sucking devices come in a variety of forms. There is one for every child of every age.

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