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The Truth About Thumbsucking Marietta, GA

The Truth About Thumbsucking

Your baby’s tendency to suck his thumb may start out as a cute and perhaps handy habit, but it is often a source of stress for parents if the child continues to suck his thumb through preschool years. One major concern from parents of thumbsuckers is whether or not the habit will affect their dental health.

Dental Problems

If your child is under the age of 4 and their permanent teeth have yet to come in, the risk for dental complication is low. However, it is important to be aware of the frequent introduction of germs and bacteria that thumbsucking places in your child’s mouth throughout the day.

A dentist will become much more concerned if your child is still sucking his or her thumb frequently or aggressively after the age of 4 or 5. At this point, it can affect the palate or how the teeth line up. Thumbsucking can cause front teeth to start tipping toward the lip. When it comes to thumbsucking, intensity matters. A child who loosely places his thumb against his teeth will likely not suffer the dental problems that a child who sucks aggressively does.

Understanding Why

Babies are born with a natural rooting and sucking reflex. Thumbsucking can quickly become your baby’s soothing mechanism. Children may suck their thumbs when they are tired, anxious, insecure or even bored. Understanding why your child is sucking his or her thumb can help you find successful ways to stop the habit.

How to Help

Every child is different so it is up to parents to find the most effective method for thier own child, depending on his or her age and the reason behind their habit. Below are some helpful tips to get your child to stop their thumbsucking habit:

  • Offer positive reinforcement such as praising your child for not sucking.
  • If you child tends to suck his thumb in response to insecurity, focus on finding the source of their anxiety and provide comfort in a different way.
  • Let your child have a say so in the plan for stopping the habit (for older children).
  • Ask your dentist to have a talk with your child to explain what could happen if they do no stop sucking. A chat with a dentist is often more effective than a lecture from mom and dad.

If the above tips are not helping, parents can choose to bandage the thumb or put a sock on it at night to break the habit. Also, a dentist can prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or even fit the child with a special mouth guard.

If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or if you are concerned about your child’s thumbsucking habit consult your dentist. Gilreath Family Dentistry can help children stop their thumb sucking habits before it starts to impact the appearance and function of their smile.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Family Dentistry

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Our Client Reviews
Gilreath Family Dentistry

5.0 / 5.0

Based on 307 reviews


Dr. Gilreath is incredible with my kids. They love going to the dentist now! And this busy mom loves the warm neck wraps, the soft music and enjoying a latte while I relax!

Kenneth H.

Was lucky enough to find these guys when I got insurance that my old dentist did not take. Very professional and friendly staff! Office has the latest greatest technology as well. If you're looking for a new dentist, search no further!

Susie L.

Very personable and friendly, they took the time to go over my complex dental history and did not pressure me into anything. They gave their recommendations and priced out any options I had. Great group!

Camille Y.

Dr. Gilreath and his staff are top notch. I received the best cleaning I've ever had while watching my favorite show. The Doctor and his staff were all very polite, friendly, and courteous. They explained everything to me clearly and presented me with options in a gentle way that didn't make me feel pressured at all. It's obvious they really care about the wellbeing of their patients. The facility and equipment is really nice as well. I will definitely be back!

Juan R.

Always willing to work around my kids and my schedules. Today I had a long appointment. They started on time and always made sure I was comfortable and that the pain was managed so the procedure could’ve been completed without issues. Very courteous and professional staff.

Lucia B.

Awesome dental practice! The staff is friendly and efficient. Dr. Gilreath is thorough and versed in the latest technology and procedures. I love that he can make crowns in the office while you wait (so no walking around with a temporary crown for days or weeks). I would strongly recommend this dental practice!

Matthew W.

I've been going here for about a little over a year now. I've had a few cleanings, a filling, and started Invisiline so far. Hands down, the best run dental office I've ever been to. In the past at other dental offices I often had to wait 30 or more minutes beyond my appointment time before being seen. At Dr. Gilreath's office I've been seen on time every time. They seem to have systems in place to make every part of your visit run smoothly. From how they took x-rays, to billing and appointments, to the work done by the hygienist/dentist, everything seems to run like a well oiled machine. On top of that all the staff are all friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The office space itself is also quite nice. Very clean, well maintained, and seems very "up to date" with their equipment. If you're looking for a dentist and are anywhere in the northwest metro area I would highly recommend Dr. Gilreath.

Jhion R.

The staff is always so courteous and personable. They make us feel like family every time we have an appointment. Service is excellent, too. My wife recently went for a cleaning and Dr. Gilreath noticed a chip in one of her fillings. He knew we recently had another baby and that her time was very limited so he went ahead and did the filling right then and there, an extra thirty minutes tops. Dr. Gilreath is always looking at the big picture and really knows his stuff. We will never go anywhere else

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Gilreath Family Dentistry

200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060

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