Once you are ready for a more serious approach on how to stop thumb sucking, you will consider products like the Dr. Thumb thumb guard. A lot of thought and testing went into its design, and it is a thumb sucking device that was introduced in early 2000. The company behind this innovation took their work seriously and even conducted a clinical trial (discussed below), which focused on children under 4 years old. Very good results can be expected as long as your child is within a narrow age range of 3-5 years old, although there has been some success with both younger and older kids. And if you chose this product be sure to measure you thumbsucker ahead of time and order the right size. This thumb sucking device fits either the right or left hand.
The function of this product is unique. It still allows the child to put their thumb into their mouth, but because of its design it “breaks the vacuum” effect so they cannot get the comforting feeling of sucking. So air passes right through when they suck. The theory is that the pleasure will be lost and the child will no longer desire the thumbsucking action.
My 18-month-old daughter was a heavy thumbsucker and we really wanted her to stop because her teeth were shifting forward. We first tried Thumbusters, but she was able to take them off. Then we got this Dr. Thumb thumbguards and she was not able to it off. She cried the first day of having to wear it, but then got used to it. After about a week she completely kicked the habit!
— Tara, Amazon reviewer
Right off the bat, the Dr. Thumb is more effective than a thumb sucking glove because it is more difficult for them to get it off (but not impossible), and it is more effective than anti-nail biting polish like Mavala Stop because young children quickly get used to its taste. This product is also easy to attach, made of non-toxic silicone, and less expensive than its direct competitor the T-Guard. Cons include that it is somewhat uncomfortable to wear, and is difficult to clean as dirt/germs and slobber collect in the creases and can eventually find their way into your child’s mouth. And as will almost all products that help kids stop thumb sucking as well as stop sucking fingers, the child can still put their thumb in their mouth while wearing it – sure they may take less pleasure, but it does not prevent them from doing it.
The company claims your child can stop sucking thumb in two weeks, and separately they claim 92% success rate. While their data is based on “fuzzy” testing, in truth, with an involved parent and a motivated child this is possible. In fact, that is really the secret for success with breaking any unwanted habit. However, if the parent is not involved then the kid won’t be motivated and simply won’t wear it or will take it off when mom isn’t looking. While this thumb guard may be a great choice, read on and compare it to other solutions to make sure you have the right choice for you, and pay close attention to sizes, comfort and the “cool factor”, and how ready and willing your child is to stop thumb sucking.
The company Dr. Thumb also created this excellent short, one-minute video that is worth watching. The company is out of the United Kingdom, which makes finding the product in the US sometimes difficult, and returns may not be worth the effort depending on who you buy from. At the time of this writing, their price of about 25 British Pound Sterling converts to $37 USD.
The Dr. Thumb website has a lot of great information and an easy-to-read format, and they appear to be a good company. A have certainly done their research and have a wonderfully informative website.
A common question is about the difference between Dr. Thumb thumb guard and T-Guard, don’t worry, many people confuse the two. First, while similar products they are sold by different companies. Dr. Thumb sells only one thumb sucking guard product, in two sizes. Contrastingly, T-Guard (the company) sells a stop finger sucking and a stop thumb sucking device, and either can be purchased in any of three sizes. Both products are specifically designed for both baby thumb sucking ages 1-3, and kids ages 3-7. None of these companies sell products for adult thumb sucking. There are several other important differences. Compare all the best devices to stop thumb sucking here.
Size matters. Although both manufacturers report that their thumb sucking guard is designed for baby thumb sucking all the way up to seven years old, they both work extremely well for kids between 3 and 5 for a couple of reasons. In both cases, thumb and wrist sizes of little kids below three years old, generally, are just too small for the product to stay on. Kids squirm, skin stretches, and with their slobber is a lubricant the thumb will find its way out of the guard and into the mouth. You could tighten the wrist strap, but in some cases moms have reported that over tightening causes abrasion. For mild mannered babies though, this may be a problem. On the other hand, kids over five years don’t like that the thumb guard gets in the way of their play time, and kids older than five are smart enough to remove the thumb guard. Moreover, comfort is a very important factor to kids when trying to get them to comply, especially those kids five years old and up. Although these guards can be effective at stopping thumb sucking, they are not comfortable, and they get in the way of basic activities such as using silverware or drinking a cup of milk.
The company Dr. Thumb held a clinical trial at Yonsei University in 2001, which included 25 children. Of the subjects, (7) were one-two years old, (10) were two-three years old, and (8) were older than three. At that time (it is assumed) there was only one size, and it was designed for baby sucking thumb problems.
The company now has two sizes. Results were measured after four weeks. After four weeks, 24% of the children completely stopped thumb sucking, 68% showed less thumbsucking, and 8% did show any improvement. And those who successfully broke the habit did so in an average of 2-3 weeks. As an aside, for comparison purposes it would be helpful to see a clinical trial on thumb sucking adults and people who want to know how to stop finger sucking.
As you can see, Dr. Thumb thumb guard takes their unwanted habit stopping business seriously. You can also visit their Facebook page and see photos of children who successfully stopped!