Thumb Sucking is thought to occur in about 80% of babies and infants. Ultrasound scans have shown babies in the womb sucking their thumbs.
Other habits that babies and children cling on to: comfort blankets, nose rubbing and hair twiddling are directly associated with Thumb Sucking. Once the Thumb Sucking stops the other habits go to!
Nagging your child or making negative comments which make them more uneasy is more likely to increase their desire to suck.
There are numerous approaches to treat chronic (habitual) thumb sucking. They can be bundled into three categories:
Behavioral - (or behavior modification) - this approach suggests rewarding a child for not exercising the habit;
Aversive - this approach generates negative sensations when the habit is exercised, such as bad taste, pain or major discomfort;
Mechanical - this approach prevents or interrupts the process of thumb sucking
Usually, first attempts made by parents to stop thumb sucking belong to the first category - behavioral. There is professional help available from speech therapists and child psychologists to explore this approach. It is our understanding that this approach fails because children often put thumb in the mouth unconsciously (especially at night), when child's mental control over his/her behavior is not at work
Aversive approaches can be divided into two categories: home remedies (such as bad tasting products and plasters, which usually don't work) and fixed appliance therapy, which includes intraoral devices (cribs or rakes), offered by dentists. These devices are fitted in child's mouth and glued to child's molars for the period from six to twelve months. These devices are rather expensive and they force children to alter their speech, and also make it difficult for them to eat certain foods (like peanut butter). A clinical evaluation recommends that intraoral devices should be used as a last resort: -"ThumbGuard™ provides a low cost option before this therapy needs to be tried".
The mechanical approach category consists of devices, which are designed to prevent or interrupt thumb sucking, which appear to be the soothing factor for children. Examples include a sock over the hand or a bandage wrapped around the child's elbow. The latter would prevent the child from bending his/her arm and reaching their mouth. But it also restricts movement in a very negative way by making the sleeping process very uncomfortable at night, also limiting the child's ability to play during the day.
The latest and most successful version of the mechanical approach is ThumbGuard™ - safe and efficient, listed by the FDA as a medical device. Made out of medical grade plastic material, ThumbGuard™ is soft and clear. It does not restrict child's ability to play and it doesn't cause any major discomfort. It interrupts the process of sucking by breaking the vacuum created by sucking, thus removing the child's pleasure without creating any negative feelings, which can be interpreted by a child as a punishment. Treatment with ThumbGuard™ usually lasts four weeks and has very high success rate.
Please go to the section "Our products ", where details of the treatment are discussed.