Oral Habit Elimination
(Content of this page used with permission of orofacialmyology.com.)
Like many parents, you may be concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier use. You may wonder if it is harmful, at what age it should stop, or what could happen if your child does not stop.
Thumb sucking seems like an innocent habit. Infants and young children find it soothing to suck on a thumb, finger, or pacifiers. It is quite normal, and many children stop sucking their thumbs or fingers between the age of two and five years. But we now are more aware than ever of the damage this soothing habit causes. Not to mention, there are some children who will continue this habit until later years of life, causing not-so-pleasant dental problems – and their self-esteem may be greatly affected. These dental problems include:
- Crooked/misaligned teeth
- Misaligned jaws and crossbite
- Narrowed upper jaws
- Speech defects
- Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) such as abnormal chewing and swallowing patterns (tongue thrust) and improper tongue position.