Thumb sucking is a bad habit. If it persists past a certain age, it can cause a lot of damage and consequences. It starts as one of the first coping mechanisms, which is only natural, but can get in the way of them creating new skills for coping. Thumb sucking can cause physical and emotional results. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to figure out how to stop thumb sucking. With so many negative consequences of thumb sucking, it is imperative to use the methods below to help your child stop this habit and develop new ways to comfort themselves.

Consequences of Thumb Sucking

The results of thumb sucking are varied. Physical consequences include malocclusion of the teeth. This is when one row or both rows of the teeth are misaligned and directed outwards. Thumb sucking pushes the teeth outwards and can require professional orthodontic work. Beyond the teeth, thumb sucking can lead to oral infections and other issues in the mouth. It can even change the shape of the jaw and result in speech issues.

Thumb sucking also causes skin irritation. As prolonged moisture from the mouth covers the thumb, it can lead to callusing, cracking of the skin, rashes, and ingrown nails. The habit of thumb sucking doesn’t just impact the child physically, it leads to all kinds of social and emotional issues. Your child may get ridiculed. They may have trouble creating new coping mechanisms and develop addictive behaviors in the future. This is why you should do everything you can to help your child stop sucking their thumbs.

Thumb Guards and Thumbsies

One method that will help your child stop the habit of thumb sucking is using a thumb guard or a thumbsie. Both products wrap around the child’s wrist and cover the thumb in either plastic or cloth. A thumb guard is the more advanced version of a thumbsie. While one of these products might do the trick, you can always switch to another in order to help them stop the habit. By covering the thumb, you can prohibit the child from sucking them.

Specialized Nail Polish

Another option is to purchase specialized nail polish. Mavala nail polish was designed to stop them from sucking their thumbs. It tastes bitter. Children don’t have a developed palate yet and can’t stand bitterness. Since it tastes bad to them, the child will stop sucking their thumbs. It is naturally repulsive to them. Painting their nails with this nail polish will help them stop the bad habit.

Elbow Guards

If these products don’t work, you can buy an elbow guard that will stop them from bringing their hand to their mouth. While this may seem extreme, it’s a way to get them to stop. When nothing else works, you will be able to prohibit them from sucking their thumbs. Your child simply won’t be able to, which will break the habit over time. Whatever the method you choose to help them, if all else fails you can consult a professional.

Consult a Professional

If the products don’t work and your child keeps sucking their thumbs you should consult a professional. A doctor or a child psychologist may be able to tell you if your child is having trouble developing and why they are still sucking their thumbs. Furthermore, they will be able to determine what you can do to help your child stop the bad habit. Not only will the doctor repeat the reasons that you should help them stop, they will provide the methods to do so.

Thumb sucking is a bad habit if continued into the toddler years. Most children will stop sucking their thumbs on their own, but if they don’t you should do anything in your power to get them to stop the habit. Thumb sucking is normal at first but can quickly develop into a damaging practice. If you don’t do anything to help your child, many emotional and psychological consequences may result. There are physical results and the child may continue to suck their thumbs into adulthood. Stop this from happening while you still can. It will improve your child’s life and make them a happier, healthier adult.