Do you have a thumb or finger sucker in the family?  Have you tried everything to help them stop?

We can help!


Firstly, it is important to remember that sucking is a normal reflex for babies and young toddlers.  It is how they learn to feed, an important factor in sensory development and for building oral motor skills (speaking and eating). 

Thumb and finger sucking stimulates a part of our nervous system that makes us feel good by releasing happy hormones.  This can be very addictive and some children may continue to suck longer than normal. 

Digit (or bottle/dummy) sucking that continues beyond the toddler years will lead to unfavourable changes in the growing facial bones and teeth.  Often this is the first concern parents have when this type of non-nutritive sucking persists.  As well as poor dental development, it can also lead to muscular dysfunctions such as low tongue position, open mouth posture, tongue thrust swallow, eating/biting difficulties, drooling/dribbling, jaw joint dysfunction, speech issues and social anxieties or embarrassment at school, for example.

Sometimes digit sucking is just a feel good habit, but it might also indicate a bigger problem. 

Children with reflux may suck thumbs or fingers to help relieve the pain of regurgitation.  Upper airway issues where a child has trouble breathing through their nose due to large tonsils, adenoids, allergies/chronic congestion, nasal polyps, enlarged turbinates, deviated septum or a high arched palate are frequently found to be thumb or finger suckers. 

An orofacial myofunctional therapy approach can help to identify and rectify the issues that could be stopping your child from foregoing thumb or finger sucking.  Our ‘Quit’ program is aimed at children aged five years and over, however we can also assess younger children as age-appropriate interventions may be possible. 

We provide tailored programs to closely support children in their endeavour to ‘quit’ the habit, most of which run for 15 weeks.  Children will generally stop sucking quickly but need support to maintain their success. 

Withers Dental

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