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Thumb-Sucking Solutions

Dr Chan and young patient examining tooth modelDid you know that thumb sucking is a natural reflex that some babies adopt while in the womb? Kids often suck their thumb when they’re stressed, scared or anxious. Though it’s a comforting and calming way to help tots fall asleep or self-soothe in a new environment such as preschool, thumb sucking can wreak havoc on a child’s developing teeth and mouth.

Here are some of the issues that may arise from thumb sucking:

  • Potential misalignment of upper and lower jaws
  • Misalignment of teeth, increasing the need for orthodontics
  • Possible malformation of the roof of the mouth
  • Difficulty pronouncing words clearly

Providing a Customised Plan

Dr Kar Mun Chan (Dental Surgeon), can provide your child with a personalised treatment plan to curb your child’s thumb-sucking habit, regardless of their age. She completed specific training through the Thumbsucking Clinic® and is now a preferred provider for thumb-sucking treatment. Kind and compassionate, Dr Chan loves working with children and helping them have healthy smiles. Contact us today with your questions!

Tips You Can Try at Home

There are some things you can do to help your child break the thumb-sucking habit:

  • Identify the triggers: If you notice that certain situations, such as visiting relatives or going to new places, is stressful, talk to your child and provide them with plenty of reassurance.
  • Set limits: As it’s unrealistic to think that your child will break the thumb-sucking habit overnight, limit the times when they can suck their thumbs such as only at bedtime.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Praise your child each time they don’t suck their thumb and offer small rewards such as a sticker, a trip to the beach or park, or an extra bedtime story.
  • Avoid using bad-tasting nail paint: Though it may be tempting to paint the terrible-tasting nail paint on your tot’s thumb, we strongly discourage that practice.
  • Never scold: It’s also critical that you never criticise or scold your child for their thumb sucking. Always remain positive. The habit won’t last forever.

Damage Caused by a Dummy

It’s 2 am, and you desperately need your sleep. If your baby has difficulty settling in the middle of the night and has been fed and changed, you may reach for a dummy to help. At Kiddies Infant Care, we discourage the use of a dummy due to its interference with your child’s long-term oral growth and development.

Dummy use can encourage tongue thrust, reverse swallow and mouth breathing; all of these habits can progress to sleep apnoea, TMJ disorder, overcrowding of the teeth and speech problems.

Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Because a dummy is in constant contact with saliva and oral bacteria, babies can be exposing their mouths to a host of germs. Many parents often don’t adequately disinfect the dummy after each use. Instead, they may just wash and dry it. As a result of inadequate disinfecting, dummy use has been linked to candidiasis, parasitic intestinal infections, otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) and dental caries.

Request an Appointment

Though thumb sucking may appear to be a cute and harmless habit it’s essential to curb it as its consequences can be not so sweet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


Thumb Sucking Solutions Werribee, Essendon, Melbourne VIC | 1300 527 370