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To ask about thumb sucking / dummies?

(64 Posts)
DrizzleHair Sat 23-Sep-17 11:08:20

My 3 month old baby has become a real thumb and finger sucker, he slurp away like mad, especially when he's tired. He sucks his thumb when he's falling asleep too which so far seems really handy for us and him as his older sister preferred to suck on my boob endlessly.

Quite a few people have commented that we should get him a dummy instead of his fingers. I think some of this is just something to say. I'm happy with him sucking himself rather than a bit of plastic I have to buy / clean / keep track of.

However my AIBU is about possible dental damage etc. My mum is a huge thumb sucking fan and rubbishes any claim that it harms teeth, but it occurred to me she might be wrong!

I'm after some proper evidence either way - too many people have a story about their cousin sucking his thumb and having bad teeth, that isn't evidence to me!

Anyone got any direct experience of this / know where I can get some unbiased truth about what is best to do?

I'm not keen on dummies, but if I can be persuaded this is what he needs to move to then I will.

DrizzleHair Sat 23-Sep-17 11:09:12

Oh in case relevant he's EBF on demand and is gaining weight well, so I don't think it's about being hungry.

hesterton Sat 23-Sep-17 11:10:09

You have better control over when dummies are phased out than thumbs. Lots of adults still suck their thumbs. Not many still have dummies.

BlurryFace Sat 23-Sep-17 11:25:58

Constant finger/thumb suckling can make the skin sore, so there's that. Once thumb suckling becomes a habit, it can be hard to break, my brother and I were well into school and still doing it. My mum had to make a deal with me that if she quit smoking I had to quit sucking my fingers.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 23-Sep-17 11:35:11

So my husband aged 50 still sucks his thumb but our sons aged 25,19 and 15 had dummies and have them up around the age of 2 and haven't got any irritating habit at all.

TammySwansonTwo Sat 23-Sep-17 12:35:31

Both my twins had a real thumb sucking phase at this age. They're now 12 months and they rarely do it now. I believe it's developmental (so their consultant told me) so I wouldn't worry or try to prevent at this stage - if it's ongoing later you can try to swap it out for somethjnh else. At 3 months they're only going to spit the dummy out every 30 seconds and drive you mad!

FairfaxAikman Sat 23-Sep-17 12:40:22

I was a thumb sucker well into primary school.
I had a large overbite into my teens (large enough to fit a pinkie between the upper and lower teeth). Thankfully that's reduced now but it is still there, just not quite as prominent.
My dentist's opinion then and now was that the thumb sucking forced the top teeth outwards.

user1493413286 Sat 23-Sep-17 12:41:41

I’d ask a dentist; if you’re in the UK you’ll still be eligible for free dental care in the year after your baby was born so ask at your next appointment.
My 3 month old is the same and when I tried giving her a dummy (which she’s never accepted in the past) she sucked for a couple of minutes then knocked it out in favour of her thumb again

polarbear33 Sat 23-Sep-17 12:47:20

I have two thumb suckers, aged 7 and 5. They both do it mainly when sleepy or very relaxed. They don’t do it once asleep. They do it way less then they used too, and my eldest tells me she doesn’t do it at school (I’m sure there may have been the odd moment when she started school) and I’ve noticed a real decrease in my youngest since she started 4 weeks ago. I check with the dentist at every check up and luckily, no damage or misalignment although the dentist does encourage them to try to stop.

I’m fairly relaxed (maybe wouldn’t be if there was real damage being caused) and think they will just grow out of it or stop when they become conscious that it’s perceived as a babyish thing to do.

I thumb sucked as a child and stopped at about 7 or so. No damage to my teeth either.

For me, yes it’s difficult to go cold turkey, but I preferred thumb sucking to dummies. Personal preference and everyone is different.

peachgreen Sat 23-Sep-17 12:51:08

Thumb-sucking is bad for the teeth, there’s no argument. That’s not to say that everyone who sucks their thumb will have bad teeth, as lots of people ‘get away with it’ (I did!) but it’s always a risk.

It was far easier for my brother to get rid of his dummy than for me to stop sucking my thumb. He threw them away and that was that. I would wake up to find my thumb in my mouth regardless! It was really hard to give up and I’m determined I’ll never let a child of mine suck their thumb, even if that means buying them dummies.

peachgreen Sat 23-Sep-17 12:52:20

...although I have no doubt that I’ll end up eating my words when I end up with a devoted and determined thumbsucker grin

chitofftheshovel Sat 23-Sep-17 12:59:21

Can I ask what exactly is wrong with thumb/finger sucking. Are we too highly evolved to find comfort within ourselves?

peachgreen Sat 23-Sep-17 13:20:01

@chit It’s fine up to about 4 but after that it damages teeth and in bad cases can even misalign the jaw or impact the palate.

Angelicinnocent Sat 23-Sep-17 13:23:36

My DD 15 is still a thumb sucker when tired and it irritates me but she has a lovely set of teeth which are perfectly aligned.

2014newme Sat 23-Sep-17 13:25:05

Sucked thumb till I was 9. I have a misaligned jaw and speak out one side of my mouth.
Gave my babies dummies.

chitofftheshovel Sat 23-Sep-17 13:38:16

But not in all cases peach. I'm 36 and a life long thumb sucker, with good teeth.

My son, aged 12 sucks his fingers and the dentist has never indicated he's aware he's a finger sucker.

I just don't get what is wrong with it.

ElfrideSwancourt Sat 23-Sep-17 13:44:02

Sucking a thumb definitely changes the shape of a child's mouth (I'm a dentist and have seen this hundreds of times) it's also much easier to get rid of dummies by just taking them away- not an option with digit-sucking! As orthodontics gets more expensive and less available on NHS you need to start saving now.

Ithastobeheinz Sat 23-Sep-17 13:51:00

My son is 11, he sucks his thumb when he is tired or worried about something.
His teeth are straight and he has never had an issue with his teeth.
I have tried lots of different things to make him stop sucking his thumb but nothing has worked, i'm just telling myself he will grow out of it.
Well hopefully

HappyLollipop Sat 23-Sep-17 13:56:10

My DS was starting to become a thumb sucker at a couple weeks old so I decided to give him a dummy instead mainly because a lot of dummies these days are built with orthodontics in mind whereas thumbs aren't and you can always take away a dummy which you can't do with a thumb! I also have a couple of friends who also couldn't kick the habit and still suck their thumb although only in private now. The dummies I use are MAM ones and they can sterilised in their case which makes it not so much of a faff to keep them clean.

GetSchwifty Sat 23-Sep-17 13:58:12

My eldest started thumb sucking at about six months. The dentist has never mentioned any problems relating to it. Although he doesn't do it much any more, he is six now. Pre six months he also used me as a human dummy, so I thought I would try using an actual dummy with my second. He likes it but I have the problem of getting up inthe night to put the damn thing back in. I don't know which is the lesser of the two evils here!

Rocketbuddies Sat 23-Sep-17 14:07:14

My DS was a thumb sucker from birth, I had no issues with it and like you, preferred that to having a dummy.

However he is now 6 and still sucks his thumb, I worry about the hygeine of it since he has been at school and he gets threadworm really easily as soon as it goes round the class. His teeth also have a slightly uneven pattern, not obvious but I do worry about his adult teeth.

My second DC I actively encouraged a dummy as we can then throw it away, she is 13 months and only has it for sleeping but I would prefer that which we can phase out that another battle with thumb sucking!

strawberrykiss36 Sat 23-Sep-17 14:09:17

Personally I think the only issue is that you can take a dummy away, whereas it's a little harder with a thumb! Both my brother and I sucked our thumbs and grew out of it as toddlers. Never had any teeth issues/needed braces.

Queenofthedrivensnow Sat 23-Sep-17 14:13:36

Dummies are rank. But that's my opinion. I don't understand why you would try a dummy unless you have a really unsettled baby.
I was a thumb sucker. Stopped about 6 - perfect teeth I'm often asked if I have had 'done'.

Both my dds are thumb suckers and gave very good teeth. I discourage it except at bedtime they accept it

NotTheDuchessOfCambridge Sat 23-Sep-17 14:16:25

Thumb sucking isn't good for the teeth, dummies aren't too good for teeth either. Difference is, you can take their dummy away. Both of mine gave up theor dummies with minimum fuss before the age of 3.

TittyGolightly Sat 23-Sep-17 14:16:50

DD is almost 7 and still sucks her thumb to sleep. There was no persuading her to have a dummy when she was a baby. Her dentist has no concerns about it and it doesn't appear to be impacting her teeth.

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