Dear Doctor – Do you have any hints on how we can help our 2 year-old granddaughter stop her finger sucking habit? – Mary
Dear Mary – Thumb sucking habits stem from the comfort our children get from the sucking response they are born with and the comfort that response gives them. By age 2 children should be encouraged to eliminate all oral habits as the suckling response combined with fingers or pacifiers will create an abnormal swallow pattern and malformed jaws. Age appropriate discussion is the first step followed by substitution of something they can hold or hug. If the child wants to stop but just cannot make a transition consider visiting your dentist to discuss several safe, kind and inexpensive systems to help.