When Should Your Child Stop Thumb Sucking?

Babies use sucking to soothe and calm themselves. Thumb sucking begins before birth (image of a fetus sucking its thumb in the womb) and it can help the baby deal with stress.

Most children can suck their thumbs without damaging the arrangement of their teeth or jaws until permanent teeth appear around the age of 4 to 6 years. You can also purchase the best thumb sucking tool to help your child stop thumb sucking.

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Also, not all thumb suckers are equally dangerous. Children who passively put their thumbs in their mouths had less difficulty than children who sucked aggressively. Observe your child's technique. If she's sucking her thumb vigorously, you should start limiting her habit around age four.

But you may not need to intervene at all. Children usually stop thumb sucking when they acquire other ways to calm down and entertain themselves, usually around age 4 or 5, although some children do thumb sucking at night or from time to time to manage stress.

There is nothing to worry about your child’s thumb-sucking until their permanent teeth start coming in. But if you want to prevent the habit beforehand, try to know the reasons behind it. If you can determine when and where your child sucks their thumb in particular – for example when driving a car – you can try giving them a substitute such as a cloth book to be handed over. 

Or if he has a tendency to suck his thumb when he's tired, try changing his schedule so he can sleep better. Openly pressuring your child to stop can motivate them to suck their thumb even more.