II. Physiology

  1. Thumb Sucking is an innate reflex
  2. Self-soothing method in infants

III. Epidemiology: Incidence

  1. Thumb Sucking extinguishes by 2-4 years spontaneously in most children

IV. Management

  1. Behavioral methods to extinguish persistent Thumb Sucking
    1. Praise and reward children when they do not thumb suck
    2. Help find alternative soothing methods for children (e.g. stuffed animals)
    3. Reminders to not suck thumb (e.g. bandage on thumb)
    4. Involve older children in stopping Thumb Sucking (e.g. reward system)
    5. Bad tasting solution applied to thumb (e.g. Thum Liquid)
  2. Advanced measures for persistent Thumb Sucking beyond age 4 years
    1. Pediatric dentist referral
    2. Preventive orthodontics

V. Complications

  1. Persistent Thumb Sucking beyond 4 years can interfere with dental development
    1. Permanent Teeth start to erupt at this time
    2. Pediatric dentist referral is recommended
  2. Tooth alignment and mouth shape may be altered
    1. Dental malocclusion with overbite or crossbite may occur
  3. Nail Abnormalities
    1. Koilonychia
    2. Paronychia

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Related Studies

Ontology: Thumbsucking (C0040068)

Concepts Finding (T033)
MSH D005386
ICD10 F98.8
SnomedCT 55644006, 192034007, 268780003, 154941005
English Sucking, Thumb, Thumb Sucking, thumb sucking, thumb-sucking, thumb sucking (history), Thumb-sucking, thumbsucking, Thumb sucking (disorder), Thumb sucking, Thumb sucking (finding), sucking thumb, Thumbsucking
Portuguese Sucção do Polegar, Chupar no polegar
Spanish Succión del Pulgar, Succión del pulgar, succión del pulgar (hallazgo), succión del pulgar
French Succion du pouce, Suçage du pouce, Sucement du pouce
German Daumenlutschen
Norwegian Tommelfingersuging, Fingersuging, tommel
Czech palec - cucání, cucání palce, Cucání palce
Dutch duimzuigen, Duimzuigen
Hungarian Hüvelykujj szopása
Japanese ユビシャブリ, 指しゃぶり
Italian Succhiare il pollice