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Thumb sucking - is it a problem?

(11 Posts)
BJZebra Tue 15-Jan-13 19:00:10

My DD is a thumb sucker, never took to dummies and usually she only really does it to get herself to sleep. She's 1yo.
We're visiting relatives in Morocco and she is definitely doing it more which I'm putting down to not being at home.
Anyway, all relatives and visiting friends have made a thing about the thumb sucking, to the point of trying to take her thumb out of her mouth. I don't speak their language but DP tells me what they say.
Is it really a problem? Is it just a difference in culture?
Or should I be getting her to stop it? It's only her milk teeth and she's only 1, as long as she stops before she goes to school it isn't a problem is it?
What do you think?

breatheslowly Tue 15-Jan-13 19:09:17

Our dentist has said it has to stop by the time DD is 3. It isn't just the milk teeth - DD has actually changed the shape of her jaws with it, by pulling the top one forward and narrowing it and pushing the bottom one back. We have decided to tackle it when DD is closer to 3 (she is 2.4 now) as I don't want to battle now and fail as I think this could make her stubborn about it. At 3 she should be easier to bribe. DH sucked his thumb until he was 8 sad.

sausagesandwich34 Tue 15-Jan-13 19:20:37

My ex still sucks his thumb in his late 40s! Has changed the shape of his jaw and his teeth!
I would try and introduce another form of comforter if I were you

BJZebra Tue 15-Jan-13 21:59:52

Oh dear, I think I will buy a dummy tomorrow! I'm sure she'll use it sometimes if not all of the time instead of her thumb.
I'm glad I asked, thanks for the advice smile

PeanutButterOnly Tue 15-Jan-13 22:11:12

If it makes you feel any better my dd (now 6) had a similar but possibly worse habit in that she sucked her forearm from around 17 months right up until 2 weeks after she started school at 4.10! I worried about her teeth and she had a blister on her forearm the whole time. But then once at school we decided she would stop and with the help of a plaster over the blister to remind her, the habit was gone in 2 weeks. Opinions differ but it seems to me that thumb sucking or other sucking comfort habit is a developmental phase that will usually sort itself out over time....

PeanutButterOnly Tue 15-Jan-13 22:15:36

Also I'm not sure it is helpful for a dentist to say 'it has to stop at 3'. That would certainly have raised my anxiety levels further. My dentist didn't say anything like that when I mentioned it. At 3 it may be difficult to rationalise with/explain to a child the way you may be able to with a slightly older child. You can certainly give the child a negative feeling about themselves by nagging.

The only thing our nursery tried with DD when she was 3-4 was to distract her, by giving her other things to hold. And I used to try and notice when she wasn't sucking and praise her for that.

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Tue 15-Jan-13 22:23:04

My parents tried everything to get me to stop sucking mine, that yuck nail varnish/pepper/mustard/whiskey :\

I'm 29 and still suck mine - my teeth and jaw are lovely tho. HTH.

RugBugs Tue 15-Jan-13 22:27:00

I still very occasionally suck a thumb at 31 blush
My parents tried so hard to get me to stop (dummies, bribery and later nasty nail stuff that i would just chew off) but I'd just resist until bed-time.
My dentist refused to refer me for any orthodontic treatment while I was still sucking my thumb so I never got braces to straighten crowded front teeth.

I would get her out the habit before it becomes too ingrained.

Tommy Tue 15-Jan-13 22:27:41

my DS2 sucked his thumb from about 9 months. He is nearly 10 and occasionally still does (stopped because he broke his arm and had a cast on for 6 weeks and couldn't physically do it!)
I think his teeth are a bit wonky but he last trip to the dentist assured us that there was no problem.
I would just let them get on with it - not worth worrying about IMO

Mamaski Thu 17-Jan-13 00:23:58

Age 2-3 is a good age to stop and break the habit. Google Thumbuddy To product to help kids stop thumb sucking and it is worth it!

NellyTheElephant Fri 18-Jan-13 12:00:44

I really wouldn't worry too much about it. Whether or not it affects teeth is really variable, so hard to comment. I sucked my thumb until about 7 when my mother managed to persuade me to stop. My teeth are perfect. All my 3 DCs sucked their thumbs (I started out with dummies but they rejected them for their thumbs), by the time they were 4 ish if they sucked in the day I would say something like 'Oh look you must be tired, why don't you go to bed' which tended to stop them so they rarely sucked in the day, at bed time DD1 stopped by about 5, DD2 is now almost 6 and rarely sucks her thumb at bed time (although occasionally does). DS is nearly 4 and still always sucks his thumb to fall asleep (but once he is actually asleep it drops out of his mouth - in fact none of them ever sucked in their sleep, it was just to help them fall asleep). No teeth problems for any of mine (we have gone to dentist regularly since they were little, I asked about thumb sucking and he confirmed there was no evidence of damage to their teeth or jaw or whatever (just like me). DH never sucked his thumb, had terrible teeth and train tracks for years as a teenager so I'll know who to blame if any of them do need braces!

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