Five Reasons to Get Your Child to Stop Sucking their Thumbs

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It’s normal for young children to suck their thumbs. It is the way that many kids learn how to cope emotionally and is a method for mitigating the pain of teething, but thumb sucking leads to a lot of negative results. When they get past a certain point, thumb sucking has both emotional and physical consequences. Read below to find five reasons to get your kid to stop the habit and how you can help them break it.


Thumb sucking can result in an overbite or an open bite. This is called malocclusion. An open bite malocclusion is when both the bottom and top teeth become directed outward in the front. This misalignment is when the front teeth don’t touch. When the child’s mouth closes, they will not come together. An open bite malocclusion may require orthodontic treatment.

Similarly overbite happens when the top teeth are directed outward but with only the upper front teeth. The top row of teeth cover the bottom ones when your child’s mouth is closed, overbites can lead to orthodontic correction that may require headgear and other appliances.

Skin Irritation

The moisture from the mouth can create irritation on the child’s skin. The skin on the thumb can crack, become calloused, and be vulnerable to infection. It also may warp the child’s thumbnail, which can lead to ingrowth or peeling. Thumb sucking sometimes results in skin that is very irritated, causing problems for the child.

Speech Issues

By impacting the development of the teeth, jaw, and palate, thumb sucking has consequences when it comes to your child’s speech. Not only does sucking the thumb result in lisps, it leads to the inability to pronounce hard consonant sounds. Partially caused by the shape of your child’s teeth, thumb sucking can lead to the requirement of speech therapy.

Emotional Development

Since thumb sucking is a form of emotional development, if your child doesn’t stop at a young age they can have issues with their emotional well-being. A child needs to find new coping mechanisms as they get older. They need to express themselves and tell you how they are feeling. Furthermore, a lot of psychologists talk about thumb sucking as the first addiction. All children deal with emotional development in their own way, but thumb sucking has to end for other coping skills to begin.

Social Problems

When your child is in school and sucks their thumb, it can cause social issues with the other students. Some kids will ridicule your child if they continue sucking their thumbs. They may make fun of your kid and call them a baby. Thumb sucking also sometimes takes the place of communication. Instead of expressing themselves, they will suck their thumbs. Instead of dealing with emotions, your kid may result in the old habit of thumb sucking. Not only could your child be teased, it can also get in the way of your children communicating themselves to their peers and friends.

Methods to Stop the Bad Habit

While it isn’t easy to get your kid to stop sucking their thumb, there are methods to stop this habit. One idea is to use a thumb cover. This cloth cover wraps around the wrist and covers the thumb, prohibiting them from sucking it. Another method you can use is Mavala Stop nail biting polish. This is nail polish that tastes bad. When your child sucks their thumb or fingers with the polish on their nails, they will hate the taste. This will gradually get them to stop. Overall, it is very important to talk to your child about thumb sucking and reward them for not continuing the habit. Reinforcing good habits will help eliminate the bad ones.


Thumb sucking is okay for a little while, it is a natural part of human development, but it isn’t necessary. The habit has to stop at an early age. If it continues after your child can express themselves with words, it is time to get them to stop. If the habit continues and you can’t get them to end the habit, you should consult doctors to evaluate their development and emotional help. They can help you with tips to get your child to stop the bad habit of thumb sucking.

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