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Thumbsucking is a normal part of being an infant. However, by the time your child is four years old, if he hasn’t grown out of it, it may be time to take some steps. That may sound a little harsh, but by the time your child is four, thumbsucking could impact your child’s jaw and teeth. It might even affect the alignment of your child’s teeth. If your child is still sucking his thumb by five or six, he is running the risk changing his teeth. His front teeth may stick out and his bite will not be properly aligned.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective method of discouraging thumbsucking. You should give your child praise and maybe an offer a small reward for not sucking his thumb, You should try to identify those things that cause your child to suck his thumb and find ways to help him respond without reverting to thumbsucking. That may also include an extra hug, or a toy to hold. If he does start sucking his thumb again, gently remind him to stop.

If you are still concerned, have a talk with doctors Doris Madrigal at DM Family Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois. The doctors can evaluate your child’s situation and make recommendations about how to move forward. If you’re concerned about your child’s thumbsucking, or would like to make an appointment for him to see the dentist, call us today at 773.252.5757.