My Home Remedies

Thumb Sucking Home Remedy Comments

31 Comments for the Thumb Sucking Home Remedy

Anonymous

Put lemon juice on the thumb or something that the child doesn't like to prevent him from sucking his thumb.

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LaChe

IS THERE ANYTHING OUT THERE THAT WILL REALLY WORK?

aggravated mom

i have a 7 year old son that since the age of 3 months has sucked on his 2 middle fingers on his right hand i have tried the thumb sucking medicine from the drug store and i have thought about putting hot sauce or something that he does not like on them but i think that is mean i figure to that he will just go wash it off and at age 7 what can i do? does any one have any suggestions please? his finger nails on them fingers dont grow and they are soft i cant think of anything else can you?

Anonymous

I sucked my thumb until I was about 8yrs old. Tried 'Thumb', which didnt help, and then I tried putting a band-aid on, after a few nights I had stopped, it really worked for me, although I did want to stop, and maybe that is the key. Eventually you/they will become embarrassed and want to stop.

Frank

Thumbsucking is a common habit of preschool children. The activity is normal for infants and toddlers, but should decrease by ages three to four and stop by age five. Unfortunately, many youngsters can't break the habit by this time. Is parental anxiety over thumbsucking warranted?
Thumbsucking is a very normal response to anxiety and stress and does not point to insecurity or emotional problems in your child. Most children give up thumbsucking by age four, when some children continue to suck their thumbs as a means of exerting independence. Aside from some minor problems with thumb and fingernail infections, the most damage from thumbsucking occurs to the teeth and jaw.
A well-known pediatrician recently stated on television that continued sucking of thumbs or fingers does not cause serious dental problems in children and is not cause for parental alarm. Wrong! In fact, prolonged thumb activity produces significant problems with chewing, speech, and facial appearance.
Effects on the jawbone
The more time a child sucks his thumb and the greater the sucking pressure, the more harm done to teeth and jaws. Day and night forceful thumbsucking makes front teeth move, and can even reshape the jaw bone. Upper front teeth flare out and tip upward while lower front teeth move inward. But, how can something as small as a child's thumb or finger effectively move bone?
The reason that thumbs and fingers are effective tooth-movers and bone shapers is that the jaw bones of children under age eight are especially soft and malleable. Children have upper and lower jaws rich in blood supply and relatively low in mineral content, especially calcium. Unfortunately for children and parents, prolonged thumb or finger sucking easily deforms the bone surrounding upper and lower front teeth, producing a hole or gap when teeth are brought together known as an 'open bite'.
If a child stops thumbsucking before loss of baby front teeth and permanent front tooth eruption, most or all harmful effects disappear within six months. However, if the habit persists through permanent front tooth eruption, there can be lasting damage: flared or protruded upper teeth, delayed eruption of upper or lower front teeth, and the aforementioned open bite. This can result in chewing difficulties, speech abnormalities, and an unattractive smile.
Do home remedies work?
Some parents try home remedies to break the habit. Some try placing gloves on their children before bedtime. Others paint thumbs and fingers with various foul-tasting substances, while still others wrap bandages around the offending digits. Yet all of these measures are typically easy to overcome and are usually unsuccessful, because thumbsucking is a deeply ingrained behavior. One method which might help is to tie/roll a used x ray film on the elbow of the child so that child can not bend the hand. You can tape the edges of the film of avoid sharp ends. Any method will work only if child agrees to cooperate.
The dental solution: a crib that's not for sleeping
One answer to this parental dilemma is a simple device called a 'crib.' Placed by an orthodontist on the child's upper teeth, the crib usually stops the habit cold the first day of use.
The appliance's technical name is a 'fixed palatal crib,' and is a type of brace that sits full-time on the upper teeth and the roof of the mouth. The crib consists of semicircular stainless steel wires connected to supporting steel bands or rings. The half-circle of wires fits behind the child's upper front teeth, barely visible in normal view. The bands are fastened to the baby upper second molars. There are a number of different crib designs used by orthodontists, all variations on the same theme.
The first step for parents is to make an appointment for their child with an orthodontist. At the initial visit, the doctor examines the child for problems with tooth position and bite. The teeth of confirmed thumbsuckers have the tell-tale pattern described above, and the doctor will ask about any habit history. With a diagnosis of intractable thumbsucking, the orthodontist will usually recommend a crib to eliminate the habit. A second appointment is then arranged, where clay impressions are made for plaster study models, together with facial and dental photographs and jaw x-rays.
The orthodontist begins crib construction at the third visit, and cements the appliance at the fourth. The child experiences soreness of upper back teeth for a few hours, and modified speech for one or two days. Instructions are given on avoiding gum chewing, hard and sticky candy, popcorn, peanuts and other brace-destroying foods. The patient is asked to not pull on the crib with fingers. Thorough toothbrushing after each meal is stressed to prevent food and plaque build-up and gum infections or cavities.
Once the crib is cemented, there is nothing to adjust and no moving or removable parts. It is one of the simplest, yet most effective orthodontic devices. Fearsome looking open bites, on the order of 8 to 10 millimeters, can close within a few months. And at $250-$350 per crib, the price is not too prohibitive, given the amount of future dental problems that are averted.

Effectiveness of the crib
Why is the crib so effective in stopping thumbsucking? Simply because it takes away the habit's gratification. Crib wires prevent the thumb or finger from touching the gums behind the front teeth and on the palate (roof of the mouth), turning a pleasant experience into an unpleasant one. Deriving no satisfaction from the activity, the child has no incentive to continue.
Parents should know that the child with a newly placed crib will have a nonrestful first night's sleep. A child who is accustomed to thumb-provided security will be very unhappy the first night or so. Be sure to offer lots of tender loving care, words of support, and congratulations so as to provide a smooth, nontraumatic transition.
After crib placement, the patient is checked in two to four weeks, and then seen every one to two months until the appliance is removed. These visits are short, and not painful. In cases where hard or sticky foods have loosened the bands, recementation may be necessary. Avoidance of the offending foods should eliminate this annoyance.
How long does it take?
Improvement in front tooth position is typically noted within two weeks after crib placement. It takes four to six months for the open bit to close and the front teeth to straighten. However, the brace is left on nine to 12 months, a sufficient time for the habit to be a distant memory and relapse potential minimal.
What is a good age to begin crib treatment? The ideal time is when upper front baby teeth become loose, just prior to eruption of adult or permanent front teeth. This usually occurs just before or after age six. Prompt thumb removal at this time allows permanent teeth to assume a much better position than waiting until their full eruption to break the habit.
Thumb, finger or blanket sucking may be noted in pre-teens, teen- agers and even adults. Despite the age differences, the initial orthodontic treatment is the same for all: placement of a crib to break the habit. For teens and adults, counselling may be indicated to deal with any underlying psychological problems.
Dental health is certainly important to a child's well-being. So is parental peace of mind. For the thumbsucking patient, the orthodontic crib provides the answer to both.
Resources
Bergersen, E.O. 'Preventive eruption guidance in the 5- to 7- year old.' Journal Clinical Orthodontics, vol. 29, pp. 382-85, 1995.
Gawlik, J.A., Oh, N.W., Mathieu, G.P. 'Modifications of the palatal crib habit breaker appliance to prevent palatal soft tissue embedment.' ASCD Journal Dentistry Children, vol. 62, pp. 409-11, 1995.
Josell, S.D. 'Habits affecting dental and maxillofacial growth and development.' Dental Clinics North America, vol. 39, pp. 851-60, 1995.
Rosenberg, M.D. 'Thumbsucking.' Pediatrics in Review, vol. 16, pp. 73-91, 1995.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Paige

I am 12 years old and i bite my nails constantly. I bite just about anything, lips, cheeks, nail, skin around my nails, hair. ANYTHING! someone please help me stop this habit

a 12 year old

Hi, I am a twelve year old and I am still sucking my thumb. I have noticed a couple things over the years even if I can't break the habbit. I've recently tried the bandaid remedie and no it didn't work for me. I was considering getting a crib for my habit. But now I'm thinking, 'what if I bite my toungue, the blade will cut me, won't it?' I don't suck my thumb at school or definitaley in front of younger kids. I think that your child (or you) maybe after age of five will give into a type of peerpressure. For instance, one night I babysat with my older sister for my second cousins. I did not suck my thumb that night at their house. Another thing, I am the youngest in my family so maybe I am doing it because I don't have anyone at the house to try to look all 'high and mighty' for. Maybe if your child is the youngest they may feel like it's not a problem. If you're the oldest, you've got one or two or maybe more kids looking at you everyday so of course your gonna seem to look your best and make them feel that you're that much better. My advice (If this could count since i haven't done anything about it myself) would be to calm down and don't throw the subject in their face everywhere. Get them a younger person to hang out with or see everyday. If they are the youngest and you aren't having anymore kids, I don't know what to say. I also have been discovered of my habit by my best friend (who I know will not tell anyone)when he spent the night at my house. I also do it when I spend the night at his house. Apparently I haven't been aware of it until I spent the night at his house but I talk in my sleep, or yell. I also have been told the same thing when I went to camp. I've had all the problems, i wet the bed probably until I was 10. I hope this gives you enough of an idea for your child. I'll keep looking but if I find something, I'll come back and post it.

juliana

I had put bandage on my 3 year old sons finger, he was so scared thinking that his finger was hurt that he refused to put finger in his mouth.

Ex-Thumb Sucker

I used to suck my thumb and we used some of the Thum no suck stuff, but oddly enough, I kind of just got used to it and even started to kind of like it. So then they wrapped my thumd in gauze so if I tried to sick it I would get a mouthful of gauze.

Anonymous

This crap about thumb sucking only being fr kids is stupid and wrong. I am 33 years old and I used to bite my nails really bad but I stopped when I turned 14 bcause my fingers stayed infected all the time from the saliva. My mom is well into her 50's andshe still can't keep her fingers out of her mouth!!!! She tried the liquids and the hot sauce, the band-aids, and everything else but nothing has helped her. I also have a distant relative who is well into her late 40's and she still sucks her thumb eveyday. It is a nasty habit and I can't stand it!! My fiance's 2 year old sucks her thumb so much that she ha a stream of saliva down her arm and her sleeves are soaked. It grosses me out all the time and we are trying to make her stop. Some people do gro out of it but there are others who just simply DO NOT and I am not gonna let her be one of those who don't. I will do what I have to do to make sure she doesn't ruin her teeth. She's too young for the games and the reasoning so we ae gonna start putting gloves on her hands at night and I am gonna go and buy something like castor oil and mix it with vinegar or baking soda and put it on her hands to make sure she keeps her fingers away from her mouth.

Debbie Thompson

Try leaving your kid alone and ignore the fact that they suck their thumb. If your kid is sucking his/her thumb, chances are no matter what you do the child will retaliate and continue to do it for a lot longer than if you dont make such a big deal about it. Usually they forget in intervals until eventually they no longer do it with out realizing it. In other kids it may take longer. Kids do this to self sooth. Try soothing your child by providing a loving and secure home environment.

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