For an infant, thumb-sucking comes as a totally natural reflex. This sucking reflex is an instinct linked to breast-feeding. For one thing, their little thumbs seem to instinctually find a way into their mouths. Thumb-sucking soothes a baby and may even help an infant more easily drift off to sleep. Babies most often suck when they feel hungry or sleepy.
Despite how natural it is, parents sometimes worry that thumb-sucking is a bad habit. But thumb-sucking is harmless - at least until a child begins growing in his or her permanent teeth around the age of 4 or 5. At that point, vigorous thumb-sucking can cause negative changes to a child's palate and to the alignment of their emerging teeth.
Fortunately, most children outgrow the habit before they reach school-age, and once they do, peer pressure exerts its influence on those who still suck their thumbs.
To help your child quit their thumb-sucking habit:
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