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How to encourage a child to stop sucking thumb

(26 Posts)
L0obyLou Mon 30-Dec-19 00:44:05

My 3.5 year old sucks her thumb an awful lot and has done since she was a tiny baby. Her dentist has noticed that her two front teeth are beginning to move forward so has told her that she must stop ASAP. She's refusing to cooperate!
Has anyone managed to discourage a child of this age from dropping the habit? If so, have you any tips? I'd be especially interested to hear if anyone has used a "thumbsie" with success. Also if anyone's child has not been able to stop, have they suffered any dental problems further down the line? Many thanks 😊

sherbetmelon Mon 30-Dec-19 00:47:13

Thumb sucker into my late teens here! No dental problems smile I wouldn't worry. It's her comfort and her baby teeth will fall out eventually. Maybe encourage thumb sucking for sleep time only?

FeckTheMagicDragon Mon 30-Dec-19 00:47:55

I’m 53. I still do this as I fall asleep. It’s a comfort thing. My teeth are absolutely fine and all in their proper place.

katewhinesalot Mon 30-Dec-19 00:49:54

I had to resort to painting on the horrible tasting stuff, designed especially to stop it. It worked

tappitytaptap Mon 30-Dec-19 01:28:25

Mine of the same age has only stopped over the last few weeks (and I thought he never would, he was doing it frequently!). I painted his nails one day and he didn’t want to suck them. Even after the nail varnish got taken off he hasn’t bothered again! Worth a try?

tappitytaptap Mon 30-Dec-19 01:29:06

Btw this is just normal nail varnish not the horrid tasting one!

xxxJess123xxx Mon 30-Dec-19 11:15:49

Hiya I brought a thumbsie for my 3 year old and it worked. She had stopped by herself mostly in the day time, just couldn't crack the night time.
She picked her design (unicorns!) and loved putting it on for bed. Few months of that and stopped completely. She doesnt ever suck it now at nearly 4 and teeth are perfect. Good luck xx

L0obyLou Mon 30-Dec-19 17:28:33

Thanks everyone for the advice - much appreciated. Reassuring to hear that thumb-sucking hasn't had a bad affect on any of your teeth. I was especially worried because the dentist took one look at her teeth and knew straight away that she has been a long-term thumb-sucker.
Cutting down on the daytime sucking is a good place to start so will give the nail varnish a go. Interesting to hear about the thumbsie too. She has got her eye on a cat-print one but said that she'll just "take it off" when she wants to suck!!! I've asked her why she likes doing it and she says it's because her thumb is "soooo juicy"!!
Thanks again 😊👍

Four4me Mon 30-Dec-19 17:50:39

Our youngest was an avid thumb-sucker (day and night) from being tiny.
When he was about 7 and just getting his adult teeth through we talked about him stopping with him.
He really wanted a particular Lego set so decided that would be his reward. We used a fabric plaster on his thumb.
He coped really well, still had his special teddy, he would go to put his thumb in and the plaster reminded him to take it back out, even as he slept!!!!

He was so proud when he got his Lego after a couple of weeks and has beautiful teeth. I'd been dreading it and it was very easy, but he was older than your dc. smile

L0obyLou Sun 05-Jan-20 10:28:10

@Four4me thanks for your reply. Well done to your son - that is excellent! It is maybe better to wait until she is a bit older like your son, and actually has the motivation to stop. Thanks again 😊

Maggiemoothecoo Sun 05-Jan-20 10:33:04

Following. Having same issue with my 3 year old. Was looking at thumbsies as well.

Karenthemum1972 Sun 05-Jan-20 17:59:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Passmeabrew Sun 05-Jan-20 18:02:17

Brilliant advice there karenthemum, I'm sure none of us have tried that hmm

Jackrussellsarecute Sun 05-Jan-20 18:04:22

I had exactly the same with my DD at this age, right down to what the dentist said. She wanted to stop but just couldn’t. All that worked was the foul tasting nail varnish. She then got a big reward for stopping. It was hard but worth it.

heartonastring Sun 05-Jan-20 18:38:36

I thumb sucked until I was 15 and that was only because I had a brace fitted and I couldn't physically fit my thumb in my mouth anymore (a bolt that had to be tightened daily for 3 months to close the gaps in my front teeth.)
Sucking my thumb had a terrible impact on my teeth. I had gaps, and the bottom teeth were pushed back. They brace I had was to push the gaps back together so that I could grow my canines down as they weren't able to grow with my teeth in the wrong place.
That said, I sucked my thumb a lot. It was a huge comfort and something I never wanted to give up so never made any effort to.

goldpendant Mon 06-Jan-20 18:37:42

Thumbsie worked for DD at 3.5. Stopped daytime sucking literally immediately and had never regressed, night time/subconscious sucking is proving harder.

TheHuntingOfTheSarky Mon 06-Jan-20 18:41:11

I’ve sucked my thumb my whole life when tired or upset. Never had any problems whatsoever - had 4 teeth out at 13 yo but that was due to overcrowding. One of my DDs is almost 9 and still does it, the dentist wants me to make her stop but I’m not inclined to listen to her tbh!

Watto1 Mon 06-Jan-20 18:41:54

I tried Thumbsie with dd but she simply took it off! She was a bit older than your dd though. Thumbguard was more expensive but it worked.

L0obyLou Wed 08-Jan-20 20:55:01

Thank you for all the replies 😊. She has surprised me and is doing pretty well at breaking the habit. Some encouragement from the extended family and big sister has helped! @Maggiemoothecoo thumbsie arrived today and she is wearing it in her bed tonight - thumb not in mouth at present!! Good luck 👍

bananafritters Wed 08-Jan-20 21:18:57

I sucked my thumb till I was 9. My parents tried EVERYTHING, that horrible tasting nail varnish, normal nail varnish, gloves, punishments, rewards. Everything! I just stopped of my own accord one day and my teeth are fine, never needed braces. I think you should encourage her to stop but don't be too harsh about it if methods don't work. Honestly embarrassment was the most effective tool (I didn't do it in front of my friends) but I wouldn't recommend that obviously!

Maggiemoothecoo Mon 13-Jan-20 18:46:55

@L0obyLou How is the thumbsies going ? I got some and we are on night 3. I'm finding she is struggling to go to sleep and keeps asking to go to the toilet. I think she thinks that'll I'll forget to put them back on after she has been to the loo 🤣

WhatsYourNumber Mon 13-Jan-20 19:09:42

Just to join in, I also sucked my thumb til early teens, pushing my top teeth forward and my bottom teeth back. Perhaps some people got away with it, but thumbsucking can mess up your teeth.

L0obyLou Mon 13-Jan-20 23:22:11

@WhatsYourNumber thanks very much for sharing and sorry to hear about your teeth. I think the fact the dentist picked up on the issue so quickly is a sign that she does needs to stop.
@Maggiemoothecoo how did bedtime go tonight? Not too many toilet trips I hope!! Things are going surprisingly well here! Thumbsie only goes on at bedtime and is definitely working. Forgot to put it on one night and thumb was firmly lodged in mouth when I checked on her! She reminded me to put it on the following night so is definitely keen to kick the habit. She isn't really sucking her thumb during the day either. I'm really amazed - hope it continues. Hope you have success too!
@bananafritters thanks for the advice. I think she did feel embarrassed about it thanks to a bit of teasing from her big sis! She is determined to stop now 😄

frazzledasarock Mon 13-Jan-20 23:26:35

My DC stopped at 11, I think.

She decided on her own she wanted to stop sucking her thumb and did. She’d report back to me in the morning telling me she’d given in and sucked her thumb or hadn’t. It was quite sweet.

She has very straight teeth thankfully. No dental issues.

WisteriaPurple Mon 13-Jan-20 23:28:57

Late 20s here, still suck my thumb at home. Embarrassment stopped me doing it in public from about 7, though there's been periods where I stopped for months entirely. The dentist did tell me to stop but actually it's had no lasting ill effects at all. No dentist I've seen as an adult has ever mentioned it so I presume they now can't tell.
My advice if you really want her to stop would be to replace thumb sucking with something else, to occupy the hands, maybe a fidget spinner, little toy etc.

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