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Thumb sucking 8 year old

(43 Posts)
Madsometimes Sat 04-Oct-08 12:30:21

We went to see the orthodontist yesterday, and the bottom line is my 8 year old HAS to stop sucking her thumb. It has already done a lot of damage to her jaw, and will do more if unchecked.

Needless to say, we have tried the nail varnish, sticking plasters and socks on hands. She just takes them off. She mainly sucks her thumb at night, so she is not always aware of removing them. I have just forked out a whole load of cash on a Thumb Guard. Does anyone know if this product works in older children?

She does want to stop, and does not suck her thumb during day. She does it when she is tired at the end of the day or asleep in bed. I think the problem is beyond her conscious control. Any ideas or support would be gratefully received smile

OP’s posts: |
sweetcat Sat 04-Oct-08 18:23:11

Bumping, as we have a similar problem with DD, also 8. She sucks two of her fingers and although her teeth are OK so far, her fingers have tooth marked bumps on them and her nails grow funny.

We have also tried socks and plasters but she takes them off. I keep telling her to stop when I see her do it but almost immediately they are back in her mouth. Makes me wish I'd let her have a dummy when she was a baby. At least you can throw them away....

SorenLorensen Sat 04-Oct-08 18:27:09

I sucked my thumb til I went to secondary school - the only thing that stopped me was getting a brace fitted (not what you want to hear, I know). I don't know what a thumb guard is but, as she wants to stop, anything that reminds her should help a bit. I really feel for her - I can remember how hard it was to stop and how bereft I felt when I had to!

Agree, sweetcat - ds1 started trying to suck his thumb when he was a baby and I got him a dummy straight away - much easier to get rid of!

madhairday Sat 04-Oct-08 18:27:46

If anyone has any ideas on this I would be grateful. I also have a thumb sucking 8 yr old dd, and she does it all day, at school, everywhere as well as at night. Her teeth are a mess and the dentist has said please try and stop her. We tried a thumb guard but unfortunately she chews stuff too and chewed it to bits, and sucked her thumb through it. Might work for just night time sucking too. I am at my wits end! Children are at school are calling her baby and she is desperate to stop but really can't. Tried all the usual. aaagh, so sympathise with you but sorry no help whatsoever!!!

shivermetimbers Sat 04-Oct-08 18:32:28

Sorry, dont know how to stop it but i do know that they do not always outgrow it if you dont do something.
my sis still sucks her thumb and she is 35.It is so not a good look.
try to find some way to nip it in the bud.

ilove Sat 04-Oct-08 18:35:17

As a thumb sucking 39 year old,..there isn't a lot you can do!

sweetcat Sat 04-Oct-08 18:44:39

ilove, is it unconscious do you think? And, if you don't mind me asking, isn't your thumbnail affected because of the saliva? Or don't you do it that often? DD does it a lot and her nails are affected but I don't know if they will get better if I manage to stop her.

hecate Sat 04-Oct-08 19:21:03

I do grin I do still suck my thumb at 34 (don't add a year on shiver, you camel!) and it is very embarrassing!

It is something you don't think about at all - I quite often realise my thumb is in my mouth and I have no idea how it got there!

Short of chopping the thumbs off grin there's bugger all you can do about it if the person who is doing it, can't stop. That thumb just drifts into your mouth without you noticing. I can be sucking for ages before I realise.

Maybe thick tape around the whole hand, taping the thumb to the palm? That'd take some getting off! Or splints that keep the arms straight by stopping the elbow from bending? - I realise these are rather extreme! grin

teddycat Sat 04-Oct-08 20:10:19

as a 32 year old occasional thumb sucker (i.e. when i am extremely tired) - I also twiddle my hair, so when i was young i would do both at the same time, when it got obvious that i would be made fun of i dropped the thumb sucking and just twiddled my hair instead, i stil do it in work and its a lot more acceptable, course its a nightmare for getting split ends but it might be a good alternative. She coudl fold her thumb sucknig hand under her other arm then twiddle with the non thumbsucking one, you can make knots and everything!

vjg13 Sat 04-Oct-08 21:39:06

Like SL I kept going until I had a brace fitted. blush

How about the PJ tops with built-in mits for kids with eczema?

willali Sat 04-Oct-08 21:50:45

ask orthodontist about geting a brace for the rm to stop it bending - sounds extreme I know but it might be a last resort if you are determined

willali Sat 04-Oct-08 21:51:11

should be brace for ARM

sweetcat Sun 05-Oct-08 08:32:05

So, it looks like I have to chop off her fingers then! I must say I am surprised that no-one has managed to stop their DC's from doing this though.

Teddycat, DD also twiddles her hair whilst sucking her fingers, but then I am a hair twiddler too. I find it rather therapeutic and if she just did this I wouldn't mind.

Oh well........

Celery Sun 05-Oct-08 08:54:06

Another thumbsucker in her 30's here. There is nothing you can do. Aside from the teeth issue, I like to tell non-thumbsuckers that thumbsucking is actually wonderful. It is very comforting and soothing, a great stress reliever. It's a lovely thing to be able to self-soothe, it's a great coping-mechanism. Just realised I'm coming out with lot's of psycho-babble jargon in this post! If it's any consolation, many many long-term thumbsuckers grow up without any major dental problems, and I've found that all dentists reel out the stuff about having to stop or there will be permanent damage, when more often than not this isn't true. I'm sure sometimes thumbsucking does lead to dental problems, but not as often as dentists infer.

SoupDragon Sun 05-Oct-08 09:00:33

It's only since having a brace to correct the damage caused by his thumbsucking that DS1 (9)has stopped

BouncingTurtle Sun 05-Oct-08 09:03:14

My dentist has never suggested to me I stop thumb sucking. Yes, one of my incisors is higher in the gum than the other, but tbh I've seen worse teeth people who don't suck their thumb!
I think there are alot more adult thumb suckers than you know.

There are some famous ones as well, including one of the Corrs (forget which one).

Sorry, madsometimes this isn't very helpful!

madhairday Sun 05-Oct-08 11:34:05

SoupDragon, how long has your ds had a brace, out of interest? My dentist said dd would need a brace but prob not til about 11/12? If she could get one sooner it may help, because it really does distress her all the teasing because of her excessive thumbsucking.

madhairday Sun 05-Oct-08 11:59:39

Someone mentioned eczema clothes, and I am desperate enough to try anything, found this
-could be helpful for night time possibly? Might be awkward for going to the loo tho!!

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sun 05-Oct-08 12:04:19

He's had it about 18 months. It's via a private orthodontist (technically it's orthotropics) and f-ing expensive.

For those who say "my teeth are fine", this dentist could tell that I'd been a thumbsucker from the shape of my face/jaw. Sucking thumbs etc affects how these develop because your jaws are apart so much.

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Sun 05-Oct-08 12:05:54

Staring gormlessly at a TV etc has bad effects on jaws/teeth too apparently. Again, because the teeth aren't together, the way jaws etc grow is affected as they compensate. apparently.

Celery Sun 05-Oct-08 13:53:22

In my opinion, the comforting, good feel factor of thumbsucking outways having a bit of a wonky jaw and misaligned teeth. If it's causing severe problems, then obviously that's another matter, but sucking my thumb has given me a great deal of comfort over the years, and yes - my teeth are fine, not Hollywood straight, but they function okay and nobody's ever called me buck-tooth.

My family tried many things and for a long time to get me to stop when I was a child, and it just caused distress and bad feeling. Please think about that before you try and force your child to stop doing something that it very important to them.

RockinSockBunnies Sun 05-Oct-08 16:04:22

I was also a thumb sucker until I had a special brace fitted at 10 which stopped me. Have you tried Stop n Grow? It's painted on nails (designed to stop nail biting) but can also be painted all over the thumb if needs be. It tastes hideous and unless your DD washes it off repeatedly (and she's really have to scrub hard!), the taste will linger for ages.

I did this with my DD last year, after the dentist told her to stop sucking. First night was hard - she'd drift off to sleep, the thumb would go in - she'd wake up spluttering and crying. This happened through the night. By the second night though, it happened maybe just once or twice and by the third night she was sleeping through without any problems. We kept painting the stuff on for a few months afterwards to break the habit. Also used bribery big time to make her want to stop.

Failing that though, I'd second what others have said about getting a special brace fitted to force her to stop. I had mine via an NHS dentist and think you probably still can. Good luck!

madhairday Mon 06-Oct-08 17:43:24

Have tried the stop n grow and similar, dd sucks it off and says 'mmmm'! (horror, lol)

Madsometimes Tue 07-Oct-08 13:38:17

Thumbguard has not arrived yet, but we have started again with socks on hands. We tape the socks on with micropore. Night one she took her socks off and woke up with thumb in mouth. We gave her a firm talking to and for night 2 and 3 she kept her socks on her hands grin

I am soooooo proud of her. She has been very tired and irritable during the day, so I had a word with her teacher on Monday. She got to sit on the special bean bags for story time. She is probably not getting enough sleep, but I am sure she will get used to getting to sleep thumbless eventually. Her teeth do not meet in the middle (there is a 2cm gap) so she cannot eat anything that requires a normal bite (eg. apples, corn on cob). My dentist says that many thumb suckers do "get away with it" - she has not.

Day 4 here we come!

OP’s posts: |
singersgirl Tue 07-Oct-08 13:46:43

Good luck - am following with interest. DS2 has just turned 7 and is still sucking his thumb at night time. He doesn't suck it any other time now, not even when watching TV, but his front teeth are well through now and I'll be interested to see what the dentist says.

I was a thumb sucker until I started secondary school - just at night from the age of 5 or so. I had to put away my old teddy and buy a new one to hold before I could stop sucking. I was one of the people who got away with it - my teeth aren't perfect, but no dentist in my adult years has ever said that I must have been a thumb sucker.

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