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Sucking is a natural reflex for infants; they even suck their fingers in the womb. Thumb sucking or pacifiers help babies to feel secure and happy as they learn and grow.

Prolonged finger sucking or binkies can actually create misalignment issues with your child’s primary teeth and lead to changes in the roof of the mouth. It is also viewed as inappropriate in many social contexts. Therefore, when your child turns two, you will want to help them gradually stop their sucking habit. By the age of four, they should be done with it completely.

Start by limiting the use of a pacifier. The distraction of walking and exploring ones surroundings may be helpful in naturally lessening the behavior. School-aged children may also be pressured by their peers to quit the habit. You can try bandaging your son or daughter’s thumbs or placing socks over their hands at night to discourage finger sucking. If for whatever reason these are not options for you, Dr. Sunil Ilapogu or your pediatrician may have other solutions. This may include fitting your child with a customized mouth appliance or providing bad-tasting medication to coat the thumb.

If you’d like help brainstorming other ideas to help your child quit the habit in Ventura, California, just give Sunny Smiles Dentistry a call at 805-644-5516. We’re here to support you and your child’s smile!