It is not uncommon to have very young children suck their thumbs. Once permanent teeth start erupting, however, thumb sucking for a long period of time can cause problems with proper growth of the jaws as well as unideal movement of teeth.

Generally start discouraging the habit after permanent teeth start erupting (at approximately 5-6 years). HOW you do this with your child IS important so ask your dentist for tips. Positive reinforcement for not doing it is generally more effective.

When passive measures don’t work, there are OTC (over the counter) options such as nail polish deterrents such as Mavala Stop. Check the ingredients and consult with your dentist prior to pursuing this route.

If passive and OTC measures don’t work, then you should consider appliance therapy with your dentist or orthodontist.

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