The result of sending a child to bed with a bottle of anything other than water is severe tooth decay (cavities). The sugar from the fluid in the bottle stays on the teeth for long periods of time causing cavities to form. Dentists sometimes use the term "Bottle Mouth" to describe the mouth of a child that has been sent to bed repeatedly with a bottle. This is not an easy habit to break, but it can be done. If your child is taking a bottle to bed, try diluting the liquid down a little each night until the end result is just water.
Thumb and finger sucking is a bad habit because it could cause the child to have buck teeth, which could eventually require orthodontic treatment. Most children will stop this habit on their own between ages 2 and 4. However, it is much easier to break any habit when it first begins.
1. The best way to help your child stop thumb sucking is to find ways to help her do it on her own.
2.Observe if conflicts or anxiety provoke thumb sucking. If so, help her find more healthy ways to deal with stress.
3. Reward your child for progress made towards her goal. Don't think of it as a bribe because it's something she earned through effort.
4. Distract your child when you see her putting her thumb in her mouth. If you engage her in an activity that requires both hands, she'll have to take her thumb out of her mouth to do the task.
5. Invite friends over that don't suck their thumbs for frequent play dates. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator and if she surrounds herself with kids who don't suck their thumbs, it will be easier to break the habit.
Please see our dental care for kids page for more information.