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Individual Dental Insurance Needed After Thumb-Sucking

By Susan Braden

Sucking fingers could cause dental problems

If your child sucks his or her thumb, you may want to consider individual dental insurance should any problems develop. There are many things you might be wondering about the habit. Is it harmful? When should my child stop? What are the possible effects if he or she doesn’t stop? This pattern can be very harmful to teeth if a they do it too much, and individual insurance could make treatment more affordable.

Why They Do It

Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex for kids and serves many purposes as they get older. Sucking on objects such as fingers, pacifiers or various other appendages makes babies feel happy and secure as they learn more about their world. Because it is relaxing, young children sometimes do it to soothe themselves or because it helps them fall asleep.

Is It Harmful?

Once the permanent teeth break through the gums, that inclination can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the proper teeth alignment. Individual insurance might help lower the cost of corrective treatment. It could also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Whether or not oral health issues will result depends on how intense the sucking is. Those who passively rest it in their mouths are less likely to have problems than with vigorous sucking. If a child is a really aggressive thumb-sucker, he or she may have problems with the baby teeth as well. Talk to your dentist if this happens, and you may want to investigate your insurance plan options.

When Should They Stop?

Once a child’s permanent teeth are about to erupt, he or she should have stopped the habit. People typically quit between the ages of 2 and 4. Pacifiers can have the same effects on teeth as fingers. However, this habit tends to be easier to break.

Tips for Breaking the Habit

  • Instead of scolding when they do it, praise them when they don’t.

  • Often, kids will turn to this action when they need comfort or are feeling insecure. Provide comfort and try to correct the cause of the anxiety.

  • For older children, involve them in choosing their own method of stopping.

  • Ask your dentist to encourage your child and explain the results of continuing the action.

  • If you try these tips to no avail, try bandaging the offending finger or putting a sock on the hand at night in order to remind him or her of the problem. Your dentist may also prescribe a mouth appliance or a bitter-tasting medication to coat the thumb.

Learn about Affordable Dental Plans

This inclination is normal for most children but can be very damaging in the long-run. Though most kids quit by age 4, some continue longer. You may want to look into an individual dental plan if your little one is having a hard time breaking the habit.



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