How to Stop the Thumb Sucking Habit in Children

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My middle daughter, who is 5, is an avid thumb sucker. She just recently started to get her first two permanent teeth, so we’ve decided that it’s time for her thumb sucking habit to come to an end! I’ve read quite a few articles about this. We’ve tried some different strategies through the years, and hopefully are on the right track. Now that she is older, it is easier to reason with her and explain why she needs to stop.

Answers to Common Thumb Sucking Questions

Is thumb sucking bad for my child’s teeth?
Possibly, but as long as your child breaks the thumb sucking habit by the time they start getting permanent teeth, there’s usually not going to be any lasting effects. Of course, you should talk to your child’s dentist if your have concerns or notice anything unusual.

What causes thumb sucking?
This is different for every child, but many do it as a source of comfort. My daughter tends to suck her thumb more when she is tired or snuggling with her lovey.

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How We Are Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit

Reminders and Positive Reinforcement
We have been complimenting her when she is not sucking at a time she normally would (like at bedtime). We’ve also been pointing out when she is sucking. She often doesn’t even realize she is doing it and will make the choice to stop on her own.

Keeping Her Thumb Covered.
I recently got a free sample of the Glovey Huggey. It has been our most successful tool so far. My daughter likes the gloves and actually wants to keep them on. She did have to be reminded in the beginning that she could not try to put the glove in her mouth. So, far she has been really cooperative about wearing them. We’re just using them during the day and allowing her to have access to her thumb at night. We’re about a week in with using the Glovey Huggey gloves and she has pretty much eliminated her daytime sucking.

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Products to Stop Thumb Sucking


Additional Thumb Sucking Resources:

9 Ways to Wean a Child off Thumb Sucking via WebMD

Thumb sucking: Help your child break the habit via Mayo Clinic

Thumbsucking via Ask Dr. Sears

Thumbsucking and Pacifier Use via American Dental Association

how to stop thumbsucking

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