Oral habits include thumb or finger sucking, pacifier sucking, lip sucking and biting, nail-biting, teeth grinding, and tongue thrust, just to name a few. Some of these habits will resolve normally in children but sometimes a habit appliance may be required to break a long time habit such as thumb sucking.
Thumb or finger sucking in young children is a very normal response and is usually associated with the child's need to satisfy the urge for contact and security. Still, this behavior should decrease by ages 2-3 and stop by age 4. Many children are slow to break the habit which can lead to anxiety for parents.
Is it worth the stress to break the thumb or finger sucking habit? Yes, because long-term thumb or finger sucking can cause problems with chewing, speech, facial appearance, and esthetics as well as lead to diminished airway functions and tongue thrust.
Contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Marshall if you are concerned about your child's oral habits.