contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

80 Lytton Road,
EAST BRISBANE QLD 4169
Australia

+61 7 3391 2504

Brisbane Smile Boutique Dentistry with Dr Amy Daley and Dr Leila Haywood 

charcoal flowers header.png

My child sucks their thumb. Is this a problem?

My child sucks their thumb. Is this a problem?

It's not uncommon for a child to suck his or her thumb, or their lip, or a finger, as a way to self-soothe or to help fall asleep.

Most children outgrow thumb sucking between 2 and 4 years old, which is the time when their first baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth appear. But it’s important to break a child out of a thumb-sucking habit before the permanent teeth start to arrive at the age of 4 years, in order to prevent problems with tooth alignment and development of the mouth.  

How intensely your child sucks his or her thumb can make a difference in the risk of problems with dental health later on. A child who sucks their thumb or finger aggressively is at greater risk for damaging teeth than a child who keeps a thumb or finger passively in the mouth.

But any type of thumb, finger, or lip sucking is a habit that should be broken. It’s not always easy, but it can be done. 

Catch them being good. Notice when the child is not sucking a thumb and praise him or her effusively, rather than scolding when the child is sucking their thumb.

Provide calmness and comfort. Some children suck a finger or thumb when they feel anxious. Try to determine any specific causes of anxiety for your child that might prompt thumb sucking, and address them.