Thumb Sucking and Mouth Breathing

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Thumb Sucking and Mouth Breathing

Early Behavioral Refinements

Thumb or Digit Sucking 
Thumb or Digit Sucking is a behavior usually involves placing the thumb into the mouth and rhythmically repeating sucking contact for a prolonged duration.
Thumb or Digit Sucking can cause tooth misalignment, experience uncomfortable or serious skin problems on their preferred thumb and may cause lisping and other speech impediments, including an inability to pronounce hard consonant sounds like “D” and “T. It can also cause social issues.
How to break it?
Talk to your child about his or her thumb sucking. You are more likely to be successful in stopping the habit if your child wants to stop and helps choose the method involved.
In some cases, paying no attention to thumb sucking is enough to stop the behavior – especially if your child uses thumb sucking as a way to get attention.
If ignoring it isn’t effective, try one of these techniques:
  • Use positive reinforcement. Praise your child or provide small rewards – such as an extra bedtime story or a trip to the park – when he or she isn’t thumb sucking. Place stickers on a calendar to record the days when your child successfully avoids thumb sucking.
  • Identify triggers. If your child sucks his or her thumb in response to stress, identify the real issue and provide comfort in other ways – such as a hug or reassuring words. You might also give your child a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.
  • Offer gentle reminders. If your child sucks his or her thumb without thought – rather than as a way to get your attention – gently remind him or her to stop. Don’t scold, criticize or ridicule your child. To spare embarrassment in front of others, you might alert your child to the thumb sucking with a special hand signal or other private cue.
Mouth Breathing
Mouth Breathing is breathing through the mouth rather than through nose.
It is harmful and causes obvious oral effects such as gum disease, gingivitis, sore throat and bad breath. It can also cause a wide range of other issues, from  headaches to digestive disturbances.
How to deal with it?
A combination of treatments can restore proper breathing such as;
  • Dealing with allergies and irritants
  • Orthodontics are used to expand the jaw and airway
  • Breathing retraining to reposition the tongue and engage nose breathing.

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