Is thumb sucking bad for babies?

There are often concerns of thumb sucking in infants and babies. For babies, there’s rarely any harm to thumb or finger sucking. The sucking is a big source of comfort and security for your baby. Thumb and finger sucking is natural and soothing, and about 20% of babies do it within the first year of life. Although is never too early to break the habit, it may be better to ween your baby off gradually or use a thumb sucking remedy.

Some kids are passive suckers, letting their fingers or thumb casually rest in their mouth. These children will likely quit sucking on their own and are less likely to experience negative consequences. Others do it with intensity and may cause damage to their delicate skin, and you might hear a strong slurping noise when the finger is pulled out. If continued until age three, this is more likely to skew tooth growth and cause changes to the gums or palate of the mouth.

It’s normal for parents to have concerns about the side effects of thumbsucking, and habits their children are forming. Understanding whether or not it’s a bad idea can help you react appropriately the next time you see your baby stick the thumb into her mouth.If your thumb sucking baby does not stop on her own by age three or four, there are proven methods to successfully break the habit.

How do I stop my baby’s thumb sucking?

If your baby is 12 months or younger, the best way to stop thumb sucking is to introduce a pacifier. For babies this can be considered a thumb sucking remedy. Continue to use the pacifier as needed and then gradually take it away. If your child goes back to finger sucking, continue with the pacifier for longer. Keep in mind, a pacifier can later be taken away while a finger cannot. Read more about thumb sucking versus pacifier.

Why do babies suck their thumbs?

Babies have natural sucking reflexes that cause them to put their thumbs or fingers into their mouths, sometimes even in the womb. Because thumb sucking makes babies feel secure, some babies might eventually develop a habit of thumb sucking when they’re in need of soothing or going to sleep. It is often the infant’s first method of self-coping in stressful situations. Also, digestion in an upset tummy can be improved by the added flow of saliva. Some babies learn they can help tame stomach discomfort by sucking their thumbs.

Do dentists say thumb sucking is bad for babies?

Dentists are often asked if thumb sucking causes problems and how it can affect the teeth. Most pediatric dentists agree that thumb sucking is not bad for babies, as long as they are weaned off around age three. Toddler’s jaw and teeth grow so quickly that they usually easily auto-correct once the thumb/finger is no longer in the mouth.So while The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), the most respected organization for children’s dentistry, states that the habit should be stopped by age four; so intervention by age three is appropriate. So good news parents, there is no need to worry.