Health Tip: Help Stop Thumbsucking
Many children suck their thumbs, but it can cause dental problems if children continue to suck their thumb beyond age 4.
Most children stop on their own, but continued thumbsucking could be a sign of a behavioral problem, such as anxiety or depression.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers these suggestions to help your child quit the habit:
- Ask your pediatrician about having your child use a thumb guard.
- Apply a bitter-tasting material on your child's thumb. But always check with the child's doctor to make sure it's safe.
- Make a deal with your child. If he or she agrees to stop sucking the thumb, offer a reward.
- Offer praise and attention when you notice that your child isn't thumbsucking.
- If your child's teeth have been affected by thumbsucking, talk to the child's dentist about what can be done to correct it.
Health Tip: Braces Basics
Braces require special care to help keep them functioning properly and prevent tooth damage.
The American Association of Orthodontists offers these suggestions for taking care of your teeth and braces:
- Brush and floss your teeth each day. Infrequent brushing can lead to more trips to the dentist or orthodontist.
- The cleaner and healthier teeth are, the faster they will move, the AAO says.
- If you play a sport, you may need to wear a mouth guard.
- Never chew on pens, pencils, erasers or fingernails.
- Stay away from foods that are very hard or crunchy, sticky or chewy.