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  • Writer's pictureKaryn Kasvin RDH

Thumb Sucking  Habit Elimination ​

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

To achieve our myofunctional health goals sometimes we first need to eliminate a bad habit.  Thumb sucking and finger sucking can develop in children at a very young age.     When this habit is formed it can be a hard one to break. Contrary to popular belief, eliminating a chronic thumb sucking or finger sucking habit does not cause emotional trauma when eliminated correctly.   Some methods of ending this habit are better than others.

A method of habit elimination that has proven at least 90 percent effective is known as behavioral modification. Through behavioral modification, positive reinforcement establishes self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. This therapy creates self-satisfaction to replace the thumb or finger sucking desire. Behavioral modification is fun and positive in contrast to many methods that use an appliance (negative reinforcement) to rid a person of the thumb sucking or finger sucking habit.

Thumb sucking and finger sucking, although not considered a serious problem by many, should be addressed and eliminated prior to permanent teeth eruption. If thumb or finger sucking persists several problems develop. The pressures applied to the mouth with thumb sucking or finger sucking can speed up the growth of the upper jaw and slow down the growth of the lower jaw, causing improper positioning/alignment of the jaws and teeth. Other problems such as a high narrow palate, early loss or retention of baby teeth, delay in eruption of permanent teeth, improper tongue position, abnormal swallowing patterns and speech problems may also occur.

Once thumb sucking or finger sucking is eliminated, the child will gain an improved appearance, an ability to speak more clearly, better dental health and a boost in self-confidence. 

Karyn's  thumb sucking or finger sucking elimination program is successful and fun for both the child and his or her family. Once the child and Karyn  discover together what this debilitating habit of finger and thumb sucking is causing, the child is able to make the decision to start therapy immediately and the program begins. After 30 days of proven behavioral modification with lots of positive reinforcement, Karyn's patients remain habit free and happy. There is no charge for the thumb sucking elimination therapy unless treatment is successful

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