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Children's Health

8 Simple Strategies for Breaking the Thumb Sucking Habit



Thumb sucking is a common habit among children, but it can lead to dental problems if it continues for too long. In this article, we will discuss 8 simple strategies for breaking the thumb sucking habit.

Why do some children suck their thumbs?

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for infants and young children. It can provide a sense of comfort and security, and some children continue the habit as they get older. It can also be a way for children to cope with stress or anxiety.

How long does thumb sucking usually last?

Thumb sucking usually starts around the age of 2 and can continue until around age 4. However, some children may continue to suck their thumbs for longer, even into adolescence.

Simple and easy ways to stop thumb sucking

Use a finger guard

A finger guard is a device that is worn over the thumb to make it difficult for a child to suck on.

Use a hand stopper

A hand stopper is a small device that attaches to the child’s hand and makes it difficult for them to bend their thumb to suck on it.

Apply bitter nail polish

Bitter nail polish is a special nail polish that has a bitter taste. It can be applied to the child’s thumb to discourage thumb sucking.

Observe thumb-sucking patterns

It’s important to understand when and why a child sucks their thumb. By observing their thumb-sucking patterns, parents can better understand how to address the behavior.

Offer rewards and incentives

Offering rewards and incentives for not sucking their thumbs can be a positive way to encourage children to break the habit.

Establish rules or boundaries

Establishing rules or boundaries, such as “no thumb sucking at school” or “no thumb sucking at the dinner table,” can help children understand when it is and isn’t appropriate to suck their thumbs.

Try role playing

Role playing with children can be a fun and effective way to help them understand the importance of not sucking their thumbs.

Use visual reminders

Visual reminders, such as a chart or stickers, can help children stay focused on their goal of breaking the thumb-sucking habit.

Can the dentist help?

A dentist can provide guidance on how to address thumb sucking and can monitor the child’s dental development to ensure that the habit isn’t causing any problems.


Breaking the thumb sucking habit is important for a child’s dental health and can be accomplished with the help of parents, caregivers and dental professionals. With the right strategies, children can learn to stop thumb sucking and develop healthy habits for a lifetime. Visit the Ayu Health website and book an appointment with us, or reach out to us at +91 636-610-0800.

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About the Author

Dr goel
Dr. S. Goel
MBBS PGDCM FID MBAHHM at Ayu Health | Website | + posts

Dr. S. Goel  is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore.  He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.

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