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Smile Town Childrens Dentist Burnaby, Langley, North Delta
SmileTown Dentistry & Orthodontics in Burnaby

Burnaby Location

Get your child ready for a safari when they visit our jungle-themed practice at 4460 Beresford St. in Burnaby.

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SmileTown Dentistry & Orthodontics in Delta

North Delta Location

It's all beach balls & water fun at our beach-themed North Delta practice located at 7511 120th Street.

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SmileTown Dentistry & Orthodontics in Langley

Langley Location

Our underwater-themed Langley practice is conveniently located in Willoughby Town Centre.

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Everything You Need to Know About Sucking Thumb

Posted Oct 20th, 2016

As parents, we have so many things to worry about, but your child sucking their thumb really shouldn’t be one of those things. If you’re ever in doubt it’s important to speak with your dentist, but here are a few key things to keep in mind.

It’s perfectly normal

This behaviour actually starts in the womb and gives your child a sense of comfort. It’s not unusual or something that you need to be concerned about. It helps children fall asleep and calms their nerves when they’re separated from you. And remember it’s a healthy coping mechanism for children.

How old should they be when it stops

When your child turns four it’s time to discourage them from sucking their thumb. The reason for this is not because it’s inappropriate but it does begin to affect the development of their mouth and teeth. So it’s important to begin gently discouraging at 4 years old.

The Best Ways to Discourage Thumb Sucking

Often children won’t need any guidance from parents on this, as they can figure out pretty quickly that it’s inappropriate but if it persists into age 5 here are a few guidelines.

Encourage and praise when you see your child making an effort to stop.
Try a gold star or fun sticker reward system to encourage going without.
Have your child talk with their dentist about it, this often can have a great impact.
As a last resort, offer a pacifier if they are really struggling.

Longterm effects

When children get into the ages of 5 or 6 the pressure and sucking motion can make their front teeth jut out causing an open bite. In rare cases the child may need orthodontics to correct the issue. In this case a dental appliance such as a crib would be used to help bring the bite back into alignment.

So, don’t encourage or discourage sucking thumb, just correct it if it goes on too long.

Smile Town Childrens Dentist Burnaby, Langley, North Delta

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