Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

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Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby UnhappyRightFoot » 16 Apr 2016, 22:26

Any ideas??

Pickle has sucked 2 fingers since she was 3 weeks old and shows no sign of stopping. It's not just at bed time - it's whenever she's not busy with her hands. And sometimes will just walk around with them in there!!

We've tried that horrible tasting stuff, but they were back in within 5 minutes. We tried taping, but she just takes it off. I'm worried about doing it at night in case she chokes on it (not sure if that's even possible, but I've thought of it!) Bribery. No. Scaring with photos. No. Nagging. No.

DH is worried that her teeth are eroding. I've googled and can't see anything to support that. But her teeth do stick out a bit at the front and she has a gap both top and bottom. She also lisps on her s'es and r's and doesn't speak very clearly. Last time she saw the dentist, we were advised to stop the habit but we're a bit stuck.

She's incredibly clingy at the moment, to me and her Gruffalo toy, so am not wanting to push it as its clearly a comforting thing. But seeing as she shows not sign of stopping, I'm thinking we need to intervene more!
Mummy to my two miracle baby girls - The Thunder Fairies. Munchie born May 2010 and Ickle Pickle born July 2012.

The one who struggles, hasn't quit.
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby emzit » 17 Apr 2016, 05:06

I'm obviously no expert, but I remember reading that finger sucking is not such an issue as thumb sucking, because fingers don't pull the teeth out in the same way. And gaps are good because there is room for adult teeth to grow into. (I think I read that on here from tooth fairy?)

And muncher's health book says substituting s and r and th is still normal at 4 to 5 years old. He's only just started pronouncing s at 4.5.

So no advice but hopefully reassurance?
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby Kitcameron » 18 Apr 2016, 01:28

I'm afraid I have no advice either as I don't have thumb or finger suckers but SM has gaps between all her teeth. I am a terrible mother and have failed to take either of my children to the dentists ever *cringes in the corner* so I have no idea whether this is a bad thing or not. I always thought it was because she was little until CMs teeth came through without the gaps.

*adds registering children with dentist to list of tomorrow's jobs*
Mummy to Slinky Malinky (Sept. 12) and Chunker Munker (June 14.)
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby Treeb » 18 Apr 2016, 01:45

I'm not really sure how much you can do for it until she becomes self-motivated. I bit my nails as a child and I remember my mom trying the nasty tastng stuff, making me wear socks or mittens on my hands, etc. but none of it broke the habit until I was a teenaged and decided for myself that I wasn't going to do it any longer.

You might be able to "transfer" the habit by giving her something else to suck on, like the chew-on-able necklaces they make. I'm not sure if that is any better than fingers though! I have never heard of finger sticking causing teeth to rot though.
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby StJuniper » 18 Apr 2016, 11:04

For R the cure was for him to have horrible mouth ulcers for a week but I'm not sure I can recommend it...
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby doodlesmummy » 18 Apr 2016, 14:17

My dd1 sucked her first 2 fingers on her right hand since she was tiny, as she got older she would do it when upset, tired or sometimes will engrossed in watching something. She seemed to 'need' it to go to sleep. As she got older I did worry about it, and when she was 4 I mentioned it to the dentist during her appointment and he said at age 4 it would be good to reduce/stop to prevent teeth from being pushed forwards. As a result of the dentist (i.e. not me) telling her this, she decided in the car on the way home she would stop, and she DID! Apart from a couple of slip ups she stopped.

So I guess it isn't something to be stressing at age 3, my dentist told me that even beyond age 4 the position of the teeth can be remedied, and that maybe getting the dentist to tell her would help? Sucking fingers/thumbs does not erode teeth just may affect the position they move into in the mouth.

hah
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its not how much you eat...but how you eat it that counts!
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby BLTMama » 18 Apr 2016, 16:23

I sucked my left ring finger until I was about nine.

:scream

I didn't need any orthodontia. I have gaps between almost all my teeth even as an adult, which just means I get away with not flossing. When people hassled me about it, I just chewed on toys and pencils and crayons instead (which was worse). And not even the stabby thing they attached to my teeth :!: did doodle-squat to fix it.

I vote for letting others (dentists, teachers, peers) mention it to her in a matter-of-fact way and leave it be.
♥ Mom to Badger Dec 2009 and Little Tarsier Jun 2013 ♥
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby yorkshirepudding » 18 Apr 2016, 19:16

I read this as breaking fingers... :scream
Mummy to my little Christmas pudding, Moo, December 2012 and a summer pudding, baby E born June 2015
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Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

Postby UnhappyRightFoot » 18 Apr 2016, 19:30

yorkshirepudding wrote:I read this as breaking fingers... :scream

:D :D :D

Thank you for the replies.

My mummy brain says leave it - she'll stop when she's ready.

It's because the dentist suggest we get her to stop at the last visit and DH going on about erosion and rounding off of the teeth - which he is now "proving" with photographic evidence! And her sleeves are often wet and her breath smells!

She did say yesterday, completely off her own back, that she wanted to stop as "only babies suck their fingers". I gently said that we would support her and remind her if she was doing it. But they're in a lot today! I think most of the time, she isn't even conscious of it which is why I can't see her stopping.

ARGH! I'll have a chat with the dentist again next month!
Mummy to my two miracle baby girls - The Thunder Fairies. Munchie born May 2010 and Ickle Pickle born July 2012.

The one who struggles, hasn't quit.
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