(HealthDay News) -- When a child age 4 or older sucks the thumb, the youngster's dental health may suffer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers this advice to help end the habit:
- Use a sticker chart, rewards and kind reminders to praise your child for not sucking the thumb.
- Keep your child busy with fun activities, especially those that involve the hands, to prevent boredom.
- Explain to your child what you will do to help break the habit. If your child seems afraid or upset, consider another method.
- Do not put too much pressure on the child to stop, and never punish, tease or speak harshly to the child.
- Talk to the child's dentist or pediatrician if you see changes in the child's tooth alignment or roof of the mouth.