Pros And Cons Of Using A Thumb Crib To Address Your Child's Thumb Sucking

Sucking his or her thumb may calm and soothe your child to some degree, which may compel you to be OK with this habit — even if you've heard that it can be problematic for the health of your child's teeth. A visit to the pediatric dentist, however, can give you more information about what dental challenges your child could face from continuing to suck his or her thumb. There are several methods that you and the dentist can use to curb this behavior, including the use of a device called a thumb crib, which fits into the mouth somewhat like a retainer. Here are some pros and cons of using a thumb crib.

Pro: It's A Physical Deterrent

A lot of parents try to empower their kids to notice when they're sucking their thumb and then correct this behavior. In some cases, however, this is asking a lot of a young child — especially if he or she is sucking his or her thumb as a self-soothing technique. One of the benefits of using a thumb crib is that it's a physically deterrent. With this device in place, your child cannot comfortably suck his or her thumb.

Con: It May Be Uncomfortable

While your child's pediatric dentist will endeavor to fit the thumb crib to the child's mouth and ensure that the presence of this device is as comfortable as possible, there's still a likelihood that the child won't be happy about its presence. A child with a weak gag reflex, for example, may find this device to be bothersome. If the child were to rub his or her tongue against the device, tongue soreness could result.

Pro: It's Perhaps The Simplest Method

Parents often get creative with different methods to attempt to curb their children's thumb sucking, but the reality is that these methods can often be time consuming. For example, you might use a bitter-tasting clear nail polish that will teach your child to stop this habit. However, you'll frequently need to reapply it, as it can wear and wash off. When you opt for a thumb crib, there's little that you need to do on a day-in, day-out basis.

Con: It Can Make Brushing A Challenge

When your child is at an age at which he or she is a thumb sucker, this is likely an age that you're also encouraging your child to brush his or her teeth thoroughly. A thumb crib may be ideal for curbing thumb sucking, but its presence can sometimes lead to challenges when a child tries brushing his or her teeth. Talk to the pediatric dentist about this option versus other solutions, and choose an approach that will suit everyone.

For more information about thumb cribs, reach out to local pediatric dentistry services.