Help Children To Stop Thumb Sucking with These Natural Remedies

thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex that is seen in young mammals such as chimps, humans and ring tailed lemurs. At birth, the baby will reflexively start sucking on any object, this reflex that is responsible for breastfeeding. As infants start to engage in this habit, they understand that this habit helps with their nourishment and also is a great pleasure for them provides comfort and warmth.  Overtime this nourishing action is associated in the 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 prior to the babies 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 perks of being bullied or worse lead to the development of ill-shaped jaw and buck teeth. But not to worry as there are many cures on how to stop thumb sucking.

Natural Remedies to Stop Thumb Sucking

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 and buck teeth
  • Improper development of tongue muscles
  • Change in biting habits
  • Speech related issues
  • Spread of Germs
  • Thumb sucking blisters

If you want to know how to break this dirty habit of your child, you must make use of some natural remedies. The five best natural remedies on how to stop thumb sucking are listed here.

Natural remedies and Alternative Treatments for Treating Thumb Sucking

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

1. Foods

Tomato or Chili Sauce

Cooking spicy food and tasting them would provide you tips on how to stop thumb sucking.

How to use?

  • 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

Benefits:

Once your child tastes it, he or she will keep their thumb away from their mouth for quite some time. It will serve your purpose of how to stop thumb sucking completely.

Precautions:

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
Image:ShutterStock

How to use?

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

Benefits:

Lemon juice has a high content of Vitamin C which is useful in membrane protection and preventing lesion formation. The bitter taste would make the child keep away from the thumb and help you on how to stop thumb sucking.

2. Herbs

Neem or Castor

Ayurveda, an ancient medicine discipline in India. Neem(1) has been used for it 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. Castor is known for its herbal component ricin and its bitter taste due to the presence of such secondary metabolites. You must know how to use herbs to understand how you can stop thumb sucking.

How to use?

  • Crush few leaves in the presence of two spoons of milk
  • The paste formed should be applied on the thumb of your child

Benefits:

Herbs have many natural ingredients which protect and nourish the skin. 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.

Precautions:

Its frequent use can cause throat irritation and irritation of the digestive system due to the high quantity ofter penes.

[Read: Hair Fall in Babies]

3. Essential Oils

Cedar Essential Oil

Essential oils extracted from herbs are useful in many ways. You should know how to prevent thumb sucking with the use of clove oil or cedar oil(2).

cedar oil
Image:ShutterStock

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

Benefits:

Such essential oils can be used for thumb sucking prevention due to their bitter taste imparted by terpenes and eugenol. They help in the healing of the skin and prevent the formation of blisters and infection.

Precautions:

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

[Read: Essential Oil for Babies]

4. Home Remedies

Salt

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, and this will help in keeping the thumb away from the mouth.

Precautions:

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.

See Also
Peppermint Oils for Nausea

5. Alternative Treatments

Before using herbs, food, supplements, creams, you must try some elementary 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 act to prohibit your child from putting his thumb in the mouth again.

Make conversation with kids

conversation with child
Image:ShutterStock

Increasing awareness of your kids to his or her 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

Make a routine and let your child cut out the days when they do not indulge in thumb sucking. For a certain number of days, they get rewarded with chocolates or any other positive reinforcement that works for them. 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 on the nails and kept painted. The pungent taste of acetone will keep your kid’s fingers away from the mouth.

Use of Orthodontic Appliances

Orthodontic appliances fit 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.

On the whole,

Thumb sucking habit can become a serious concern if left untreated and therefore, should be attended to immediately. It may lead to poor facial features, misalignment of jaw and thumb sucking teeth placement which will make kids look ugly as they grow up. Itis essential for their healthy life to know how to stop thumb sucking. Follow all the remedies as mentioned,and you will get rid of this irritating and humiliating habit eventually. Bade Goodbye to thumb sucking habit and embarrassment in a few days.

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