Don’t Panic! Take Methodical Approach to Help Your Child Stop Thumb Sucking

thumb-sucking-300One of the most frequent concerns parents express to us is their child’s thumb or finger sucking habit. The good news, though, is that thumb sucking is a completely normal activity for babies and young children, and if they stop by age 4 it should have no adverse effects on their future bite.

In fact, there are positive aspects to thumb sucking: it provides babies with a sense of security, as well as a way to learn about the world. As a child grows and becomes more confident with their surroundings, the thumb sucking habit will fade and eventually stop: for most children this occurs between the ages of two and four.

If, however, the habit continues later in childhood, there is a chance the upper front teeth may be influenced to tip toward the lip during eruption and come into an improper position that could also adversely affect jaw development. The same concern exists for pacifier use — we recommend weaning a child off a pacifier by the time they’re eighteen months of age.

If your child still has a thumb or finger sucking habit as they prepare to enter school, it’s quite appropriate to work on getting them to stop. Punishment, shaming or similar negative approaches, however, aren’t the best ways to accomplish this: it’s much more effective to try to modify their behavior through reward, praise or some creative activity.

Another factor that may help is to begin regular dental visits around their first birthday. Regular checkups give us a chance to monitor the development of their bite, especially if thumb sucking continues longer than normal. We can also assist you with strategies to encourage them to stop thumb sucking or pacifier use.

Thumb sucking that continues later than normal isn’t a cause for panic, but it does require attention and action. Helping your child “grow” past this stage in their life will improve their chances of developing a normal and healthy bite.

If you would like more information on thumb sucking, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Thumb Sucking in Children.”

Why You Should Avoid Chewing Tobacco

Discover the many reasons why chewing tobacco is so bad for both your oral and general health.

Dental-ExamIt might seem obvious, but chewing tobacco can negatively impact your health. It leaves destruction in its wake and it can be difficult for people’s smiles to bounce back after this terrible habit. Find out why you should stay away from chewing tobacco and how your Romeo dentist Dr. Michael DeLaura can help.

How Chewing Tobacco Affects Your Oral Health

Just because chewing tobacco is smokeless doesn’t make it any less harmless for your mouth. Those who chew tobacco are more likely to deal with these nasty dental issues:

  • Severe discolorations
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • A decreased sense of smell and taste
  • Increased chance of cavities and gum disease
  • Increased risk of oral cancer

In fact, chewing tobacco contains about 28 cancer-causing ingredients, which can lead to cancer of the lips, tongue, esophagus or mouth. Smokeless tobacco can also cause serious gum irritation and lead to gum disease, which can also cause complications such as bone and tooth loss.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health

It might seem obvious, but the best thing you can do to protect your mouth from cancer and other severe dental problems is to ditch your tobacco habit right away. We understand that this can be a major challenge and your Romeo dentist is here to help. Ask us about ways other people have successfully quit tobacco and kept their smiles healthy.

Also, those who’ve used chewing tobacco may need to go to the dentist more often for cleanings and exams. Luckily, the majority of cancerous lesions can be easily detected through an oral exam alone. Find out how often you need to go to the dentist to keep your smile healthy.

Whether you want to quit tobacco products or you are dealing with the after effects of this habit, your Romeo dentist is here to help. DeLaura Dental prides itself on giving you the best smile you can possibly have.