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Identifying and Stopping Thumb Sucking

Written by southridge-pediatric on . Posted in Uncategorized

For a great number of children, thumb sucking or finger sucking are general habits at a young age. Nearly a third of all children will suck on their thumbs or fingers within the first year of their life, and while this may seem harmless, it’s actually not.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. Our pediatric dental services include identifying the triggers of thumb sucking and working with parents to help rid children of this practice. Why is thumb sucking such a big deal, and how can you stop it? Here are some tips.

Problems With Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking has the potential to cause several developmental issues within a child’s mouth. It may lead to an open bite, a condition where the top and bottom teeth don’t touch while biting or chewing. Thumb sucking may also lead to narrowing or distortion of the mouth palate, leading to speech issues and negative bite patterns if not addressed early enough.

What Causes It?

There are several possible causes of thumb sucking in children. Kids mostly do it as an unconscious comfort method when they’re uncomfortable or stressed, meaning you may see it when they’re hungry, tired or sad. They may also do so when they’re bored or anxious.

Tips for Stopping It

If your child is still sucking his or her thumb by age four, you need to take steps to wean them out of this to ensure their mouth development isn’t stunted. Here are some basic tips:

  • Identifying triggers: Most children will develop a few specific triggers that lead to thumb sucking. Observe them carefully and identify these triggers as best you can, then use positive reinforcement to get them away from it.
  • The whole family: You can’t be next to your child 24 hours a day, so make sure your family is on board as well. Make sure siblings and any other relatives who regularly see the child are on the same page and use the same language and strategies.
  • Intervening: When your child is actively sucking their thumb, intervene and explain to them that this is a bad habit. If they understand that stopping is related to their health, this often helps.
  • Diversion: In some cases, children can be distracted away from thumb sucking. Try diverting their attention when you note them sucking ont heir thumb.
  • Covering thumbs: It may seem crude, but this simple method is very effective. Wrapping thumbs in Band-Aids or cloth will make them less attractive to children and will ensure they realize quickly what they’re doing and remember it’s a negative habit to avoid.

For more on preventing thumb sucking, or to learn about any of our other pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

Parental Readiness for Common Child Dental Issues

Written by southridge-pediatric on . Posted in Uncategorized

There are certain parts of our children’s lives we simply can’t control no matter how careful we are, and one of these areas relates to dental emergencies. Kids are active and occasionally reckless, and there are times where the teeth bear the brunt of this load.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. We can help prepare you as a parent for some of the most common dental issues that may face your child at some point in their lives, plus how to go about managing these situations. Here are some basics.

Fractured Tooth

A fractured tooth, or a case where a tooth partially breaks or fragments into pieces, is a relatively common issue for kids who are at play. You hope they’re careful around the head as often as possible, but it’s simply unavoidable that something might strike the tooth area and cause a fracture.

If this happens, do your best to gather whatever fragments of the tooth you can, then store these in a clean container with cool water. From here, immediately schedule an appointment with our dentist to prevent infection or other possible complications. In addition, if your child plays sports, ensure they wear a mouthguard to prevent tooth fractures.

Permanent Tooth Knocked Out

If your child is already at the age where they have permanent teeth, it’s possible for these to be knocked out as well. Once again, be sure to find the tooth if possible – if it’s undamaged and able to be cleaned properly, you can try to reinsert it into the child’s socket until you have time to make it to the dentist.

If the tooth cannot be reinserted, place it in a cup containing the saliva of the child – but not water. Use milk if needed. Schedule an appointment with the dentist immediately.

Persistent Toothache

One good tactic to help with toothache symptoms is rinsing the mouth with warm water. If the toothache will not go away after more than 48 hours, though, see your dentist right away. Know that toothaches are often a result of poor overall dental hygiene, and your child’s dentist will likely recommend some changes here.

For more on common child tooth issues, or to learn about kids dental X-ray or cleaning services, speak to the pros at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

South Jordan Location
2651 West 10400 South
Suite 103
South Jordan, UT 84095
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Tooele Location
1959 Aaron Drive
Suite E
Tooele, UT 84074