Choosing the right thumb guard for your child
Thumb sucking is a common habit in many children, and it usually starts during infancy. While some children outgrow this habit on their own, others may continue thumb sucking for years, which can lead to dental problems and subsequently difficulties with speech and with eating.
Thumb guards are a great tool to use when it is time to end thumb sucking. However, before choosing a thumb guard, you should familiarise yourself with your child’s habit. Children suck their thumbs and fingers in a variety of ways and for different reasons. There are several things you should consider in order to select the best product for your child.
Here are six important points to consider.
- How often and for how long does your child suck their thumb? If your child only sucks their thumb occasionally, a thumb guard may not be necessary. It is likely that your child will stop the habit without intervention from you. However, if your child actively sucks their thumb regularly or for extended periods, a thumb guard may be helpful because active, prolonged thumb sucking past age 4 is a known cause of dental and jaw issues.
- Thumb sucking habit severity: If your child sucks their thumb frequently and vigorously, they may require a thumb guard to break the habit. However, if their habit is milder, a bitter tasting thumb paint might be sufficient.
- When does your child suck their thumb? If your child only sucks their thumb during the day when they are tired, anxious, or bored for example, you may want to try addressing the underlying cause of the behaviour before resorting to a thumb guard. This is because some children suck their thumbs to self soothe, just as many of us did in infancy. As children become older, helping them express their feelings and find more appropriate ways to cope with anxiety can help them move away from thumb sucking habits.
- Has your child experienced any dental problems related to thumb sucking? If your child has already experienced dental problems related to thumb sucking, such as misalignment of teeth or an overbite, a thumb guard may be recommended by your dentist or orthodontist. It is important to encourage an end to thumb sucking as soon as you notice issues with teeth developing. If left. Such habits can lead to serious complications that may even require surgical intervention.
- Is your child willing to wear a thumb guard? Some children may resist wearing a thumb guard, especially if they are already self-conscious about their thumb sucking habit. It is important to remember that thumb guards are intended to be used in a positive way to help your child stop thumb sucking independently if possible. Thumb guards should never be used as though they were a punishment. We offer a variety of fabric designs to help encourage children to wear our guards because success is more likely to occur when the child is a willing participant.
- What type of thumb guard is best for your child? There are several types of thumb guards available on the market today, including soft silicone guards and hard plastic guards. Our thumb guards are made of fabrics and are available in a variety of styles too. The type of thumb guard that is best for your child will depend on their age, the severity of their thumb sucking habit, and their personal preferences.
Further points to consider when choosing a fabric thumb guard
Material: Consider the material of the thumb guard. Choose a breathable and comfortable fabric that your child will not be allergic to. Make sure it's easy to clean and machine washable at cool temperatures.
Fit: It is important to select a thumb guard that fits your child's thumb properly, not too tight or too loose. A poorly fitting thumb guard may be uncomfortable and may not work as intended.
Comfort: Ensure that the thumb guard is comfortable and does not cause irritation or discomfort to your child's thumb or surrounding skin. Look for thumb guards with soft, breathable lining that will not chafe or irritate the skin.
Ease of use: Choose a thumb guard that is easy for your child to use and remove. It should not be too difficult or fiddly for your child to take off, especially when they need to eat, wash their hands or go to the toilet.
Price: Thumb guards can range from very affordable to very expensive. Consider your budget and choose a thumb guard that is reasonably priced and still meets your requirements.
Child's cooperation: A thumb guard can only be effective if the child is willing to use it consistently. Talk to your child about why they need to stop thumb sucking and how the thumb guard can help. Involve them in the selection process and make sure they understand the importance of breaking the habit.
Overall, it is important to approach thumb sucking with patience and understanding. While a thumb guard may be a helpful tool in most cases, it is not a standalone solution. It's important to work with your child to address the underlying causes of the behaviour and to find a solution that works for your family.