Two Thumbs Up

orofacial myofunctional therapy

Sucking is an instinct that babies are born with. It serves an important function for feeding and soothing in newborns. However, sucking habits that last beyond age 3 and happen in more than 1 setting, such as home and school, are considered chronic. When a sucking habit becomes chronic, it is time to consider elimination.

Impacts of chronic sucking habits

  • Anchors the tongue down and forward, which prevents the tongue from resting on the roof of the mouth.
  • Contributes to immature or abnormal tongue movement patterns.
  • Blocks the teeth from coming in correctly and can contribute to dental malocclusions such as crossbite, anterior bite, or overjet.
  • Contributes to a high narrow arched palate due to constant pressure of the thumb agains the roof of the mouth
  • Changes respiratory patterns, contributing to open mouth resting lip posture.
  • Often causes calluses and infections on the fingers or thumbs
  • Contributes to speech sound errors
  • Can interfere with peer and family relationships
  • Decreases focus when thumb sucking occurs in school

How we help

There have been many treatment approaches, over the years, ranging from mechanical devices to psychobodydynamic therapy. We’ve also all heard of children getting their fingers painted with bad tasting stuff by well meaning family members. Frankly, these approaches don’t work for 1 reason. The motivation is coming from other people–not the person with the habit. Research shows that the most effective approach is behavior modification. At Oregon Orofacial, we use a blend of conscious awareness, motivation, positive reinforcement, and mini reward systems. Elimination of the sucking habit generally occurs within ten days and/or nights.

Who can benefit?

  • thumb suckers
  • finger suckers
  • finger pickers
  • nail biters

Try a positive approach

If your child says she or he really wants to stop but just can’t help it, then it’s a great time to seek help. Our elimination program begins with building desire, awareness, and education to support your child and family. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact us today.