Health Tip: Thumbs Down to Thumb Sucking

Tips to help him stop

(HealthDayNews) -- Thumb sucking may be a relaxing pastime for your toddler, but it can lead to big dental bills later on.

After the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth, the American Dental Association says. It also can cause permanent changes in the roof of the mouth.

Children should have stopped thumb sucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to emerge, usually between ages 2 and 4 years.

To help your kid kick the habit, praise the child for not sucking, instead of scolding him when he does. Also, try to find the source of his anxiety, which probably is prompting the habit in the first place.

If all else fails, bandage the finger or ask your doctor for a bitter medication to coat the thumb.

Consumer News