Thumb Sucking Devices


Thumb sucking devices will discourage the unpleasant habit by decreasing the pleasure and gratification. These dental appliances will help stop the habit and improve your child’s oral health.

Why discourage thumb sucking?

Children naturally outgrow the habit around 4 or 5 years old. However, some kids still stick to the habit whenever they feel stress, insecure or uncomfortable. That’s because thumb sucking may be soothing or relaxing to the child.

However, there will be negative effects such as:

  • Issues with the proper growth of the mouth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Bullying and teasing from peers

In other words, prolonged thumb sucking habits will lead to physical, mental, social and emotional effects.

How to discourage thumb sucking?

There are dental appliances especially designed for this. However, it’s still recommended to implement the following:

  • Always use positive reinforcement (praise your child when he or she isn’t thumb sucking)
  • Address the real issue and provide comfort (know the cause of your child’s stress, insecurity and discomfort)
  • Talk to your child about the negative effects of prolonged thumb sucking (do this to raise awareness, not to find fault in your child)

These are all valuable in discouraging the habit while reinforcing positivity. Often, it’s the right parental approach that leads to success when it comes to encouraging children.

How a professional dentist can help?

There are cases when the habit still persists even with the application of positive reinforcement. That’s where a professional dentist can help.

After a thorough assessment and consultation, the dentist can provide further support to break the habit. The dentist can also recommend an anti-thumb sucking device to address the issue.

For example, many dental appliances discourage thumb sucking by preventing the thumb from reaching the mouth’s roof. As a result, there’s less gratification which can eventually stop the habit.

The dentist might also recommend a special mouthguard that interferes with thumb sucking. The approach might vary depending on the case. That’s why dentists perform assessments first. Also, both the dentist and parents have a crucial role in ensuring the child’s good dental health.

Importance of early prevention and solution

The children’s mouths and teeth are fast developing and growing. Any unpleasant habit can have long-term consequences especially when permanent teeth start to erupt.

Although thumb sucking is just natural for children (it’s a natural reflex for infants so they can feed from breast or bottle), prolonged or vigorous practice of it may lead to teeth problems later on.

When to visit the dentist

If you noticed vigorous thumb sucking, it’s the first sign to accompany your child to the dentist. In fact, it’s highly recommended to schedule regular dental appointments even before the child’s first birthday. This is to spot oral problems early on and correct them as soon as possible.

To discourage thumb sucking, the dentist may recommend a special mouthguard or another dental appliance. In addition, proper guidance from both the dentist and parents are crucial.