(503) 668-4655

Category Archives: Blog

Helping Your Child Break the Sucking Habit

Helping Your Child Break the Sucking Habit

As an experienced children’s dentist in Sandy, OR, Dr. Derek Conklin understands that for young kids, a thumb or pacifier can provide a wonderful sense of comfort and security. However, whether a child uses a pacifier, thumb, or whole hand to suck on, the habit can cause malocclusion (bad bite) to develop, which negatively impacts the development of a child’s teeth.

Born to Suck

Babies are born with a natural reflex to suck, which usually develops into a reflexive behavior that helps soothe and relax the child. For some kids, a sucking habit becomes compulsive, leading them suck on a thumb, finger, or pacifier for hours a day. When a child starts sucking his or her thumb for longer than four to six hours a day, the habit can eventually:

  • Push the upper front teeth outward and the lower incisors inward.
  • Stop the a child’s incisors from fully emerging from the gum line.
  • Cause the top molars to align incorrectly with the bottom molars.

Fortunately, once your child quits the sucking habit, his teeth will begin to shift back to the correct positions naturally. The sooner he stops sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or finger, the healthier his permanent teeth will become. But if your child continues to suck his thumb beyond the age of five to seven, it almost guarantees that his permanent incisors will form incorrectly.

Helping Your Child Kick the Habit

Most children don’t require assistance kicking their sucking habit, as they generally quit on their own sometime between the ages of three to six. Children who suck on pacifiers tend to give the habit up even more quickly than those who suck their thumb, and parents obviously have an easier time weaning their child from the pacifier rather than any appendage. Kids who continue to suck their thumbs up until preschool age may find the social pressures of thumb-sucking at school a good motivation to quit.

Successful Treatments

The most successful treatments for thumb-sucking require getting the child involved in the process and getting her to agree to stop. By informing your child about why she should quit, staying neutral during the process, and resisting the urge to become critical, you can help prepare your child to sacrifice a familiar and comforting habit. When attempting to help your child quit, consider these tips from your children’s dentist in Sandy, OR.

  • Pick a period of low-stress for your child. This means you should avoid times of challenge or change, such as when starting a new school year, moving homes, or going through a divorce.
  • Talk to your dentist about the most successful practices for helping kids quit.
  • Help your child put aside any objects that have become part of the sucking process and could trigger the habit.
  • Implement a reminder for your child not to suck, such as placing a mitten over the hand, wrapping the thumb in a bandage, or placing a band aid or the thumb.
  • Always employ positive reinforcement techniques when helping your child quit by complimenting your child on the smallest of successes in addition to the biggest gains.
  • Create a reward system that highlights everyday your child goes without sucking, such as a star on the calendar or a sticker on his bedroom door.

Keep in mind that thumb-sucking is a perfectly normal habit, and often results from a child feeling frightened or anxious. Trying to scold a child into quitting the habit may only drive him towards sucking in order to feel better about any punishment received. Stay positive and supportive, and your son or daughter will find quitting a whole lot easier.

If you have other oral health questions about your child’s oral health, call the children’s dentist in Sandy, OR, Dr. Derek Conklin at Sandy Family Dentistry today.

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health

As a kids’ dentist in Sandy, Dr. Conklin understands that parents can have a lot of questions when it comes to protecting their child’s oral health. Even before your child develops his or her teeth, the mouth needs preventative care to protect against damage and tooth decay later in life. Here’s what you need to… Continue Reading

Plant-Based Breakthrough Targeting Gum Disease

Plant-Based Breakthrough Targeting Gum Disease

Protein drugs, which are made from biological sources, represent some of the most important biopharmaceutical breakthroughs currently on the market. Some of these types of drugs, such as insulin, have been used by health professionals for decades, while many more offer exciting treatment potentials for family dental care in Sandy, OR. However, major advances in… Continue Reading

Implants Have Added a Little Mussel

Implants Have Added a Little Mussel

As your family dentist in Sandy, Oregon, our team provides patients with the best dental care possible. Whether you need a routine exam and cleaning or a more complicated oral procedure such as implants, our dentists at Sandy Family Dentistry have the knowledge and experience needed to provide the high level of care you deserve.… Continue Reading

Dealing With Sugar Dependency

Dealing With Sugar Dependency

At Sandy Family Dentistry, Sandy dentist Dr. Derek Conklin wants every patient to know the types of risks their oral health faces on a daily basis. And one of the biggest hidden threats to our health comes from sugar consumption. Nutritional experts estimate that the average American consumes approximately 2,700 calories a day. Of those… Continue Reading

Winning the War Against Plaque

Winning the War Against Plaque

Since childhood, most people have repeatedly heard about the importance of brushing and flossing daily. Whether from a parent warning that too many sweets will rot your teeth or from a concerned dentist lecturing about the need to keep teeth healthy and strong, the importance of practicing quality oral hygiene should have sunk in long… Continue Reading

Blood Sugar Blues: How Dr. Conklin Can Help Spot Diabetes

Blood Sugar Blues: How Dr. Conklin Can Help Spot Diabetes

While many patients don’t expect to have a conversation about diabetes when in for a dental checkup or cleaning, the diagnosing and screening for the disease may become more common than you’d think. In a recent study published in the Journal of the Irish Dental Association, researchers from the Dublin Dental University Hospital suggest that… Continue Reading

Call Now
Directions