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Does Thumb Sucking Really Lead to Braces?

Do you have a baby or toddler who is thumb sucking or using a pacifier? For young children, this is a normal measure of comfort, but parents should pay attention to this habit. If it is too long, you can send the teenager for orthodontic treatment.

If your child is still sucking his/her thumb as the permanent teeth grow in, or will not relinquish the pacifier, you may have to help and stop thumb sucking habit in order to prevent dental problems in the future.

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Thumb sucking starts at a very young age and in some cases can be started while the baby is still in the womb. Sucking is a natural reflex that serves an important purpose – to make the child feel safe and satisfied.

Parents should take steps to help their children drop the thumb sucking habit at an early age. Here are some tips that might help encourage your child.

  • Begin a reward system that offers a sticker or other small reward marker for each day your child doesn’t suck his or her thumb. Once the child attains a certain number of stickers, reward him with a small treat of some kind.
  • Do you have older children? Get older siblings, friends or cousins in on it, too. Have them talk to your child about what it means to be a “big kid.”
  • Don’t be afraid to get your orthodontist involved. Many orthodontist offices are happy to offer positive reinforcement to your child to help them stop their habit.