Thumb sucking is normal in kids less than 3 years of age, hence most dentists recommend to curb the habit at home. Try to provide positive reinforcements to the child (called Behaviour Management Therapy). Praise the child for their efforts and try to develop creative stories to explain them, after all parents know their child the best.

Some other common strategies are applying very bitter liquids on the child’s fingers from time to time. A special check is to be made before the child sleeps, grandparents can also observe the child when the parents are away.

If the child continues the habit for a long time it can have deleterious affects not only on his teeth but also affect his speech and facial features. Many children, when left uncorrected require braces therapy later on in their teenage to correct their mal-aligned teeth.

Normally the upper and lower teeth overlap each other like a lock and key. When the child places his thumb/pacifier, or any other finger for that matter, the upper and lower teeth do not overlap as they are supposed to and he/she develops an “open bite”. There is excessive tipping of the upper teeth towards the upper lip affecting the facial features as well.

If the child is old enough to understand, a trip to the dentist is recommended wherein the consequences can be explained by the dentist to motivate the child to break the habit.

If the child is bound by habit, a Habit Breaking appliance called the Tongue Crib is usually fixed onto the child’s tooth for a few months until he/she give up the habit. This procedure is painless and is completed in two visits.