In terms of thumbsucking, just know that some people are oral and some aren't. Some babies take pacifiers and some don't.
- Fetuses are regularly seen sucking their thumb on sonograms.
- The sucking reflex is a critical survival skill, obviously necessary for breastfeeding.
- Is a self-soothing skill.
- Parents’ evaluation of their babies suck response is something I needed to know when evaluating a child to determine if their basic neurology, basic motor skills, were intact enough to allow them to survive.
- Some babies and even adults are “oral” in nature.
- People are forever putting things in their mouths.
- 100 deaths a year from choking on pen caps.
- 20%-30% of the general population bite their nails.
- 45% of adolescence bite their nails or suck their thumbs.
- If babies don’t give up thumbsucking by age 24 months, 2 years, can cause permanent to the shape of their jaws and to the shape of the roof of their mouths.
- These changes in shape can cause problems with the quality of their speech which can lead to problems with reading, writing and social relationships.
- May result in orthodontic treatment. Years of braces, but that's only one of the problems with chronic thumbsucking at 2+ years.
- When babies are about 2 years old, they become more self-sufficient and need both hands to work together.
- Think about handling toys, feeding themselves, etc., you can see how 2 hands are critical.
- Sometimes, they suck their thumbs when they are anxious, need comfort or are bored.
- It’s your job to decide that reason based on the situation.
- Evaluate the intensity of their thumbsucking.
- Are they somewhat relaxed about it or are they intense?
- Babies who vigorously suck their thumbs are prone to having problems with their baby teeth.
- When you see him sucking his thumb or put his hands in his mouth, intervene in a positive way.
- Don’t give them a snack.
- Distract them with a quick game or song of “itsy, bitsy spider, high-5 them, hand them something that requires both hands or withhold the item and ask for both hands.
- If you haven’t scheduled an appointment with a dentist who specializes in treating child, a pedodontist, do so.
- The American Dental Association recommends that you start taking your child to the dentist at age 2 years if nothing else, to get them familiar with the process.
- The dentist should be able to tell you if the thumbsucking is impacting the shape of the jaw or the roof of the mouth (hard palate).
- The appointment may end up being a baseline for determining, in future appointments, if there are any changes.
- The dentist may recommend that you purchase a chewy tube to meet the chewing needs of your child.
- chewytubes.com is a site that provides you with objects to chew that won't damage the shape of the jaw or the roof of the mouth.
- You might want to seek out a pediatric speech and language therapist or an occupational therapist for strategies if you can’t reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of his thumbsucking.
- If your pediatrician or pedodontist don’t have recommendations, go online to those organizations directly and choose a clinician.
Have a great week, everybody!
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