Help Children To Stop Thumb Sucking with These Natural Remedies

Updated on March 18th, 2020
How to Stop Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex that is seen in young mammals such as humans, chimps, and ring-tailed lemurs. At birth, the baby will reflexively start sucking on any object, a reflex that is responsible for breastfeeding. As infants begin to engage in this habit, they understand that this habit helps with their nourishment and also is a great pleasure that provides comfort and warmth. Over time, this nourishing action is associated in mind with a pleasurable oral sensation. In most cases of mammals, mostly humans, as the child grows older, the reflex tends to fade away.

An interesting fact is that sucking can start before birth, as early as 15 weeks before the baby’s conception. However, it is not conclusive as to whether it is voluntary or a reaction to the environment in the womb.

Thumb sucking generally stops by the age of 5. However, there are certain cases where it does continue even into adulthood. The causes for this could be movement disorders, psychiatry problems, and habit continuation. In contrast, adult thumb sucking is embarrassing, and it comes with the perks of being bullied or worse lead to the development of ill-shaped jaw and buck teeth.

Symptoms/Risk Factors

If the habit of thumb sucking does not drop by the age of four, your child may develop some severe medical/dental conditions such as:

  • Irregular jaw shape
  • Front teeth jutting
  • Buck’s teeth
  • Improper development of tongue muscles
  • Change in biting habits
  • Speech related issues
  • Spread of Germs
  • Thumb sucking blisters
  • buck teeth

If you want to know how to break this worrying habit of your child, you must make use of some natural remedies. Natural remedies have significant benefits that not only get rid of the thumb sucking habit and also enrich the baby’s health.

[Also Read: Home Treatments for Seborrheic Keratosis]

Natural remedies and Alternative Treatments for Treating Thumb Sucking

Below are listed a few remedies and cures on how to stop thumb sucking.

CURE 1: Foods

Foods are one of the best-recommended remedies to alleviate thumb sucking.

Tomato or Chili Sauce

The spicy and tangy taste of tomato or chili sauce helps your child in keeping the thumb away from their mouth for quite some time.

How to use it?

  • First, you would need to crush some tomatoes or chili
  • Add a little water and make a paste
  • Apply on the thumb and let your kid have a taste


If you use it very frequently, it may cause diarrhea or stomach related problems such as acidity and put you into more trouble.

[Read: Home Remedies for Colic in Babies]

Lime Juice

lime juci

Lime juice has a high content of Vitamin C, which protects the membranes and prevents the formation of lesions. The bitter taste of it also makes the children keep their thumbs away from their mouths.

How to use it?

  • Make a juice of lime or orange
  • Fill it into a sprayer and spray on your child’s thumb

[Read: Home Remedies for Colic in Babies]

CURE 2: Herbs

Herbs are another great source to inhibit the habit of sucking thumb in children. They are also known to contain natural ingredients that are known to protect and nourish the skin.


Neem(1) has been used for its beneficial effects for ages now. It is known to provide relief from various diseases. It is rich in secondary metabolites belonging to the class of triterpenes, which accounts for its bitter taste. The paste of neem or castor would help fight germs and dry the thumbsucking blisters that may have formed. The bitter taste of the paste would also help in getting rid of the thumb sucking habit.

How to use it?

  • Crush few leaves by mixing it with two spoons of milk
  • Take the crushed paste and apply it on the thumb of your child


Frequent use of neem can irritate the throat and digestive system. So, make sure to use it under a doctor’s recommendation.

[Read: Hair Fall in Babies]

CURE 3: Essential Oils

Essential oils extracted from herbs are useful in many ways.

Cedar Essential Oil

cedar oilImage:ShutterStock

The bitter taste imparted by terpenes and eugenol prevents children from sucking their thumb. Besides, they also help in healing the skin, prevent the formation of blisters and infections.

How to Use?

  • The oil can be extracted from twigs and leaves and diluted with olive oil
  • You can apply under the cuticle or nails of the thumb


A concentrated form of such essential oils may sting if they come in contact with the eye and cause pain and agitation in kids.

Cedar Essential Oil Can Be Purchased Online

CURE 4: Home Remedies


A straightforward remedy to stop thumb sucking is to dip a cloth in a salt solution and tie it to your child’s thumb. You may also apply a concentrated salt solution to the thumb directly, which makes your child keep their thumb away from their mouth.


If the child consumes too much salt, it may again lead to indigestion and cause more harm. It may also lead to choking in infants or get into the eyes and cause irritation.

CURE 5: Alternative Treatments

Before using herbs, food, supplements, creams, you must try some simple natural measures on how to stop thumb sucking.

Create indulgence

Keep your kid busy with games, consoles, books, which requires the use of both hands. While putting them to sleep, you could give them a toy to play with and cuddle, so that it could comfort them and get them out of the routine of thumb sucking.

Tie band-aids or rubber tapes

Band-aids and rubber bands provide friction to the smooth and calm thumb sucking habit and prohibits your child from sucking their thumbs.

Make conversation with kids

conversation with child

Increasing awareness of your kids to their surroundings and how things grow and age will make them more conscious, and they will feel mature. It will make them lose their childish habits and develop gentle habits to grow up into beautiful human beings.

[Read: Behavioral Therapy for ADHD in Children]

Implement a reward system

Create a rewards program and give your kids chocolates or any other play stuff when they stay away from sucking. It will surely keep them off from their nasty habit.

Make use of thumb sucking nail polish

There is chemical thumbsucking nail polish, which can be applied to the nails. The pungent taste of acetone will stop your kids from sucking their thumbs.

Use of Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontic appliances are put in the interior of the teeth. They are placed with the gums so that thumb sucking does not touch the upper areas of the gum, but it is not so comfortable and peaceful. Eventually, the kids lose interest and get rid of their thumb-sucking habit.

Bottom Line

Thumb sucking habits can become a severe concern if left unattended. It may lead to poor facial features, misalignment of the jaw, and abnormal growth of the teeth, which can damage their facial features. The remedies mentioned above can play a vital role in getting rid of the thumb sucking habit in your kids.

Also Read:

How To Get Rid of Pacifier Rash

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