Saturday, May 26, 2012

My crusade against "thumb sucking"

A few months ago I wrote this post, when I naively thought that Olivia had quit her nasty habit of thumb sucking... only to write this other post a couple of months later admitting that she had regressed and was back to thumb sucking full throttle!...
Well.. it has been over 6 months since that last post and she is STILL sucking her thumb like there's no tomorrow...
Please keep in mind that Olivia will be 5 really soon and this habit is only getting worse each passing day....
The incessant thumb sucking has caused Olivia so many issues...she has been sick (and on antibiotics) several times this year, her teeth are terribly crooked, the skin around her thumb is affected with severe dermatitis, her nail doesn't grow on her left thumb AND she constantly STINKS.. I'm talking rotten saliva smell all day long...
There was a time when I thought her thumb sucking was the cutest thing in the world (just like many parents of BABY thumb suckers), but now it's the most disgusting thing I can think of...
So... ever since I have admitted that thumb sucking is a terrible habit, I have started a crusade against it.. every time I see a parent with a thumb sucking baby, I approach them politely and tells them about the risks and consequences of this habit..now, I will also post that information on here because I know it will help so  many parents who are unable to see the long term consequences of this activity.
According to some of the research I have done, thumb sucking is a very common habit (occurring in about 80% of normal infants and children), however by 4 years of age, only 15% of children still suck their thumb (I guess Olivia is in that "lucky" percentage). Some of the consequences of thumb sucking are as follows:

  1. If it persists past 6 years of age, may cause damage to the permanent teeth, primarily "buck" teeth.
  2. Dermatitis of the thumb, introduction of toxic materials to the mouth, candidiasis, herpetic whitlow formation, and increased incidence of paronychia (a bacterial fungal hand infection)
  3. Orthopedic abnormalities including radial angular deformities
  4. By constant pressure by parents that the child should get their thumb out of their mouth, the child's self esteem may be affected
  5. Peer relationships and social interactions. Children perceive thumbsuckers as less intelligent, unhappy, unattractive, and less desirable to become their friend.
So, as a parent of an almost 5 year old thumb sucker, who is exhibiting many of the issues I have mentioned above, I strongly advice all parents agains it.  Use a pacifier if your child MUST have something in his/her mouth.. you can always take that away but you can't cut the thumb off...If you think a baby looks cute sucking his/her thumb.. believe me.. you won't think so when he/she is a toddler... Take it from this very frustrated mom who has been dealing with this issue for years now.. (literally).
    References:
    1. Rosenberg, Maris. Thumbsucking. Pediatrics in Review February 1995
    2. Van Norman Rosemarie Why we can't afford to ignore prolonged digit sucking?.  Contemporary Pediatrics June 2001
    3. Davidson L. Thumb and Finger Sucking.  Pediatrics in Review June 2008

3 comments:

I Just Love You said...

hey, have you seen this product?? http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=984&cmSource=Search

Adriana said...

I have seen it, but we haven't tried it yet... I'm currently reading the reviews from this one and a few other products to see what our next step will be...
We have an appointment with an orthodontist this week too.. and we will explore the option of a mouth piece...
Thank you! I will keep you posted! ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of "Thumbuddy To Love" to help stop thumb sucking?
google it or get it on Amazon.