By penguingranny55 from Un City, AZ
I wonder if thumbsucking really does cause dental problems. I sucked my thumb until I was 9 (awful, I know!), and my teeth are so straight I frequently get comments about them, and I've never had braces.
For advice, though, I can only offer the things my parents tried. Keep in mind, I'm 35 - some of these things might get you arrested today! My parents painted my thumbs with the nasty tasting nail polish - I sucked my thumbs anyway. They dipped my thumbs in tabasco sauce - I sucked my thumbs (now I love spicy foods!). They took Pringles cans, cut the bottoms off and somehow attached them to my arms so I couldn't bend my elbows. This is my personal favorite. Obviously, though, this one isn't really viable since the cans can't be kept on 24/7. In the end, I made the decision that I wanted to quit, so I quit.
My daughter took a pacifier. I hated the thing, but there were extenuating circumstances that caused her to get one in the first place. She was addicted to it, so we took her off it in steps. At first, she was allowed to have it only at bedtime. A couple of months before her 6th birthday, we began telling her that when she turned 6, she would no longer get her "paci." We mentioned it every night , and occasionally we spent several minutes talking about it. Her birthday came and the paci went into the trash. She asked for it the first night or two, but by the time a week had passed it was as though she had never taken one. Obviously, you can't throw the child's thumbs away, but perhaps setting a goal date for quitting and talking frequently about it might help.
This worked like magic with my 4 year old! I told him the more he sucked his thumb, the greater the chance it would start to taste yucky. Then, when he was sleeping at night, I painted on that nail polish for stopping nail biting onto his thumbs (I did both in case he switched thumbs). After a week he stopped. After a few months I noticed he was starting to suck again, I reminded him of what happens when he sucks his thumb, put it on again and that was it.
Try making a deal with her, and when she says yes, you have HER sew the sleeve of her pajamas shut (might have to buy bigger ones, and a simple task like that she could learn at this age). Have her wear a mitten or glove by day. She will feel more tension so give her plenty of other outlets - more fun, more exercise, more learning, more outdoor play with other kids. Do hang in there, you don't want her beautiful future smile to be ruined. The scary thing is, "living bone remodels under pressure", meaning it takes the shape you push it into, little by little. Your dentist can help any crookedness come back into line, but the skeletal damage needs to be stopped now.
I work in a dental office and there is a thumb sucking appliance that she can wear, call your dentist and ask, she will quit sucking her thumb about a week after wearing it ... good luck!
I know they use to sell something that you put on their thumbs that tasted awful. You may be able to ask the pharmacy if they have something like that. Try showing her pictures of very bucked tooth people and explain to her that this is what her teeth will look like if she continues, since thumb sucking is the cause of this. Good luck.
My little cousin has a bad habit of sucking her fingers. Her mother does not do anything about it. I do watch her often so I have time to attempt disciplining her. Does any one know a way to get her to stop?
I would defer to the parents decision. Not doing so would potentially damage the child, who would be confused, or the relationship with the parent, who might be offended by you contradicing her decisions. If sucking fingers were a dangerous practice it might be worth the effort, but as it stands, I would keep my mouth shut.
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