Teaching Your Children About the Dentist
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Teaching Your Children About the Dentist

I work as a clerical assistant in a pediatric dental office, and I am commonly surprised by the number of children who are scared of the dentist. Many kids think that cleanings will be painful, and they believe they will be scolded for eating sugary foods. Children are also extremely frightful of the noises made by the water spraying tools and the suction devices. As adults, we know that dental cleanings are easy and free of pain. We need to impart this knowledge to our children so they know not to fear the dentist. I have provided blogs that will help you speak with your child about dental care. Good communication, trips to your own dentist, and online videos can assist you. So will good brushing techniques that will make your child proud to see the dentist. Enjoy my articles so you can help your child build oral care confidence.

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Teaching Your Children About the Dentist

Is Thumb Sucking Ok? And Related Questions And Answers

Alfred Kelley

Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier sucking are all natural, instinctive habits for many young children. In fact, some babies even suck their thumbs in the womb. Still, a great deal of parents spend their time attempting to break their children of these habits. While thumb sucking may bring comfort to babies and toddlers, it can also have negative consequences. These tips will help you understand why thumb sucking is problematic for young children, and what should be done about it.

What's wrong with thumb sucking?

On an occasional basis, thumb sucking is relatively harmless. However, many children who suck their thumbs do it habitually and persistently. Over time, thumb sucking can cause a misalignment of the teeth, a misshapen palate and other dental care problems. In severe cases, the front teeth will stick out farther than the other teeth, making them vulnerable to breakage.

Is a pacifier better than sucking a thumb?

Pacifiers have the advantage of being removable and disposable. Parents who wish for their children to stop sucking a pacifier can easily take the pacifier away. In addition, there are some sources that say that pacifiers put less pressure on teeth than thumbs. Parents who are especially worried about their children developing overbite and palate problems can even purchase "orthodontic" pacifiers. These pacifiers are designed to fit the shape of, and support, the inside of the child's mouth without putting pressure on gums and teeth. 

How long is it okay for thumb sucking to continue? At what point does thumb sucking do damage?

Thumb sucking generally goes away naturally between the ages of 3 and 6. However, if it doesn't go away on its own, parental encouragement may be necessary. The Mayo Clinic recommends that children stop thumb sucking altogether around the time that the permanent teeth start to grow in. If thumb sucking continues after the permanent teeth are in place, they will be at risk for developing problems. 

How can the thumb sucking habit be broken?

Many parents can help their child break the thumb-sucking habit by providing distractions when their child is placed in situations that produce anxiety or boredom. Often parental attention and comfort can give children the boost they need to avoid thumb sucking on their own. Children who are not able to break the habit can wear an aversion therapy splint. This plastic cover goes over the thumb and makes thumb sucking uncomfortable. In other cases, a child with a thumb sucking habit may wear dental hardware that attaches to the teeth and makes thumb sucking uncomfortable. 

Since thumb sucking can actually affect the shape of your child's mouth, breaking the thumb sucking habit is an important part of your child's dental care. To find out more about thumb sucking and how it affects your child's oral health and development, speak with your child's dentist. To learn more, speak with someone like Neu Family Dental Center.


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