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Thumb sucking advice needed

(11 Posts)
ThreeistheNumber Mon 21-Sep-09 10:45:15

My DD2 is nearly 3 and has been sucking her thumb since she was about 2 and a half months old. Her thumb is calloused, crooked and the nail never grows, and her top teeth are arching outwards. The thumb goes in to the mouth when she is tired during the day or watching TV but mostly whilst she is getting to sleep and through out the night whilst she is asleep.
The dentist said not to worry until her milk teeth start to fall out and the doctor has offered no real suggestions. I would like to tackle the problem fairly soon. Anyone got any ideas?
Have tried putting a plaster on her thumb - she just takes it off.

chaosisawayoflife Mon 21-Sep-09 20:40:51

Sorry, can't help but didn't want your message to go unanswered. My dd is 16 months and has been sucking her thumb since about 3 months. Her thumb is peeling, cracked and her nail bed is completely flattened. I sucked my thumb until I was about 12 when I had a night brace fitted for my overbite and no longer could. DH also sucked his thumb until about the same age but had no dental problems. I'm trying not to worry not worried about it as I know its a comfort to her and am grateful that she can comfort herself. Also, many kids need orthodontic treatment whether they suck their thumbs or not, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I think the only approach that could possibly work for a child of your dd's age is a thumbguard but my feeling having been a thumbsucker is that its a bit cruel and takes away a child's method of self-soothing.

ThreeistheNumber Tue 22-Sep-09 10:10:48

Yes I am worried about the self soothing aspect too. It was GREAT when she was a baby and I practically encouraged her to put her thumb in her mouth then so I do feel a bit of a hypocrite having a problem with it now.
Maybe I should just encourage her to stop through talking to her and then she will hopefully do it in her own time.

Dibbdobb Fri 25-Sep-09 14:13:58

I'm in the same position as chaosisawayoflife. Sucked my thumb at night until I was about 11 and then stopped when I got a brace. My brother who didn't suck his thumb also had a brace. My DD now 10 months sucks her thumb and I'm just taking the wait and see approach as it is a comfort to her - why stop it when she may or maynot need dental treatment anyway.

Bensmum76 Fri 25-Sep-09 14:40:44

I agree with Dibbdobb. My DS (almost two) sucks him thumb when he's asleep and when watching TV. If he does it when we're out somewhere or playing together I ask him to take his thumb out of his mouth so that I can hear him talk. I sucked my thumb when I was a child and sometimes suck my thumb in my sleep now - my dh has been known to pull my thumb out of the mouth in the middle of the night! I did not have braces, or any problems with my teeth so am not concerned for my son. I think if I noticed his teeth becoming crooked when he was older I would then be concerned.

Ruby40 Fri 25-Sep-09 19:16:22

My DD is 9 and sucked her thumb since a baby. When her adult teeth came through they were slightly sticking out. We tried for ages to get her to give it up. She progressed from intermittent sucking to only sucking it at night. We then tried elastoplast which worked a treat. She knew it was a problem and gave it a go.... great result. I wouldn't worry too much at this stage.

bigTillyMint Fri 25-Sep-09 19:21:28

My DD is 10 and has sucked her thumb since she was in the womb (as seen on scan!)
Her thumb is totally normal, and her teeth don't yet seem too crooked.
Her brother who has never sucked his thumb or had a dummy may need a brace if his jaw doesn't grow fast (not enough room for all his teeth?!)

I have no idea how to get her to stop - nothing we have tried has worked so far. I amn hoping that she will stop when she starts secondary school!

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 25-Sep-09 19:23:23

DS1 is 17 and ....

cluckyagain Fri 25-Sep-09 19:24:30

All 3 of mine sucked - 2 were scared into stopping by the dentist (much to my rather shocked/indignant amazement) No3 was a different one - she had very sticky out teeth and after seeing the orthodontist bills around here I decided that we couldn;t afford them! I used 'nail biter' nail varnish (after explaining fully to my 3yr old dd2) She hated it with a passion and it worked well. She then had a relapse after a very bad croup attack (I relented!) and I then had to use a plaster and also a glove which I sewed onto her pj top. Had she tried to take it off I would have put her in an all in one with a zip! (I;m nasty!) It worked though and her teeth are vastly better.

bigTillyMint Fri 25-Sep-09 21:11:52

Oh BIWI! I don't remember how old I was when I stopped blush

neversaydie Sat 26-Sep-09 14:21:47

DS was a dedicated finger sucker from 2 to 8 years of age. He started when I stopped breast feeding him (subtle!) and finally stopped, with the aid of a hefty bribe, when he was ready. The same bribe offered 12 month earlier had no impact whatsoever.

His finger recovered very quickly, his jaw is absolutely fine. He did have some social problems at school. I have never been sure which was causal, though - he may just as easily have been sucking as consolation for the bullying.

Both sisters were thumb suckers - one had a brace to pull her teeth in, and the other to push her jaw out. (I didn't suck anything, and didn't need orthodontic treatment).

On the whole, I still think that DS finger sucked because he needed to, and stopped when he no longer needed to. Parents can help with that decision, but if you force the issue there is every chance that they will find something even worse to do!

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