Sometimes children resort to thumb sucking as a soothing measure.

Most babies and children resort to sucking their thumbs or fingers at some point and it is a normal behavior for self-soothing and relieving stress.


Children commonly outgrown this habit by around four years old but may continue until age six.


If your child continues to suck their thumb or fingers past six years old, they could be at risk for developing speech problems, preventing their permanent teeth from erupting correctly and causing shifting of existing teeth resulting in an improperly aligned bite or malocclusion.

father with a baby girl at home

If a child is preschool age or younger, experts advise the parent to ignore thumb sucking. If a child is still sucking their thumb past age six, treatment may be necessary. Limiting places where thumb sucking is allowed and providing other distractions are small ways to help stop the habit. Praise, positive attention and even small rewards for not sucking their thumb can also help break the thumb-sucking cycle. Don’t punish or shame your child, as this can make thumb sucking worse or cause the child to hide the behavior all together. If these measures don’t work or the child refuses to stop or limit their thumb sucking, please call to make an appointment to discuss further treatment options.

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