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Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 16 Apr 2016, 22:26
by UnhappyRightFoot
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!

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 17 Apr 2016, 05:06
by emzit
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?

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 01:28
by Kitcameron
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*

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 01:45
by Treeb
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.

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 11:04
by StJuniper
For R the cure was for him to have horrible mouth ulcers for a week but I'm not sure I can recommend it...

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 14:17
by doodlesmummy
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

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 16:23
by BLTMama
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.

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 19:16
by yorkshirepudding
I read this as breaking fingers... :scream

Re: Breaking finger sucking habit in a 3 year old

PostPosted: 18 Apr 2016, 19:30
by UnhappyRightFoot