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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-09-2010

Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Hi, my three and a half year old daughter has sucked her thumb since 6 months old. Her bite has already begun changing because of this. I should have started this process before now but need to work with her to stop this habit. Do any of you have any advice or methods that worked well? Thanks for any insight or tips that you can provide.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,210
Registered: ‎03-23-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Have you checked tips at WebMD and Mayo Clinic websites? This could also lead to speech and language issues in addition to bite.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,426
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

I would consult your pediatrician. There is always google and books with tons of information.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,814
Registered: ‎10-21-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

What about rewarding her for not s u c k I n g her thumb. I remember my niece slept with a pacifier until she was 2.5. I remember her mom taking her to get a special treat if she gave her pacifiers to grandma. It was so cute when she handed them to grandma.
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 3,874
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

I hope you get some good, practical suggestions here and from the pediatrician. Whatever you do, don't make a power struggle out of it.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,179
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Mine did it forever. They do finally outgrow it.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,901
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

She's so little, barely out of the baby stage, it seems a shame to take away something which soothes her. How do you know her bite is changing? Remember these are her baby teeth. Does she do it all the time or just when she's tired and/or going to sleep? Is this your only child (I'm guessing yes).

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-09-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Thanks for the replies. Her dentist told me that the sooner it's stopped, the better, and showed me how her bite is changing because of it. It's hard because she loves it so much and it's the last baby-related thing that she does. But I know it's a must. This sounds extreme but the dentist suggested using an ace bandage at her elbow at night to make it more difficult for her to do it at night. Still thinking that over...again, seems extreme. I think I'll start by making a star chart and let her out a star on each day that she doesn't do it as much or possibly at all. And see how that works. Oh and she's not my only child...I have a son who's 24...which is another topic for another thread. Smiley Happy. He wasnt a thumbsucker.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-15-2010

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

My son was much older than your daughter and thumbsucking was causing changes in his bite. I went to the drugstore and bought a thumb splint with cool neon tape I let my son choose. Looks like child had a thumb sprain so no embarrassment. It worked like a charm in less than a week and now the Ortho uses it as his treatment for thumbsuckers in his practice!
Super Contributor
Posts: 578
Registered: ‎07-30-2011

Re: Any advice/tricks for thumbsucking?

Aw Jen, please don't do the ace bandage 'cure'. My concern is that trying to solve one problem may create other more serious ones in the process. Follow your instincts. If your gut is telling you the treatment seems extreme, it probably is. Your idea about the positive reinforcement of the star chart is spot on! I remember a liquid product called 'thumbz' when my kids were little, that you could put on the thumb and it tasted terrible. I actually used it to break the pacifier habit, when my daughter was too old for it, and it worked well, but it was easier to suggest that the "pluggie" had gotten rotten, and needed to be sent to the 'pluggie repair shop' (so inconveniently located in Japan!) But it is meant for thumbs and would probably do the trick. I was a thumb sucker probably until I was six, and for what it's worth, I never even needed braces!