exp. Dr. Emin Çağlar warned the families by stating that the habit of thumb sucking in children is a problem that needs to be treated in the future. Dr. Mentioning that thumb sucking is one of the problems seen in childhood, Çağlar said, “This situation, especially seen in preschool and primary school years, can worry parents. However, sucking behavior, which is a basic reflex for the child, is considered normal in the first years of life, but if it continues in the following years, it may become a problem that needs to be intervened. Finger sucking behavior in children can continue until the age of 3-4 without any problems. Especially at this age, finger sucking behavior can be observed at a rate of 23 to 46 percent. Therefore, children aged 4 and over are often evaluated by experts and a treatment plan is applied. In addition, finger sucking behavior can generally continue until the age of 9-10, although very rarely, it can be seen at later ages.

CAN BE CAUSED BY BOTTLE AND pacifier addiction

Pointing out that thumb sucking behavior usually occurs in stressful situations, Dr. Çağlar continued:

“Bedtime is a very stressful time for children. Therefore, when it is time to go to bed, sucking behavior can be seen in children. Another stressful situation is the arrival of a new sibling. The child, who observes the sucking behavior, which is a behavior that is considered unique to infancy, in his sibling, may show the behavior of thumb sucking, which is a behavior of previous ages, in order to regain the lost parental interest. Thumb sucking behavior may not always be the result or cause of a psychological problem. It may also be a continuation of the sucking behavior in infancy. It can also continue as a continuation of false breast or long-term bottle use, especially in infancy, or as a deprivation of these objects. Therefore, as a result of clinical observations and interviews, no psychiatric problems may be encountered.”


Dr. Çağlar explained the deterioration that can be seen in the child sucking the thumb as follows:

“Severe irritation and deterioration in structure can be seen in sucked fingers. In addition, deterioration in teeth and mouth structure, and accordingly, deterioration in voice and speech may occur. The opening in the front teeth can cause the child to have a problem called ‘limbing speech’ among the people. If the treatment is not started in the critical period and the finger sucking behavior continues until the advancing ages (9-10 years), this mouth-tooth problem may become permanent. Thumb sucking behavior should not be considered as a problem of psychological origin in terms of its causes and consequences. Therefore, it is stated that more effective results can be obtained when the treatment plan to be applied includes the participation of more than one branch. When working with a child psychiatrist and dentist, the results are brighter. Because treatment actually consists of two basic components. The first is the physical treatment that the dentist will carry out; The second is psychotherapeutic treatment in which the psychological infrastructure underlying this behavior is studied.”


Dr. Çağlar also gave information about treatment methods. Dr. Çağlar said, “In the application of an appliance to the finger, a harmless apparatus called an appliance is attached to the sucked finger by persuading the child. As it is difficult for the child to put this appliance in his mouth, it acts as a reminder (stimulant) when he puts his finger in his mouth and helps to reduce sucking behavior, considering from a behavioral point of view to stop thumb sucking. This apparatus, which is used for a similar purpose to the finger-mounted apparatus in arch application to the teeth, is placed on the child’s teeth by the dentist. These arches are effective in the improvement of the deteriorated tooth and mouth structure as well as their function as an appliance. Psychological treatments are basically two-dimensional. The first of these is support activities based on information for the family; The second is behavioral treatments carried out in cooperation with the family. First of all, basic information about thumb sucking behavior is given to the family. In addition, interviews are conducted to understand the family dynamics and family system. In case of thumb sucking due to dysfunctions in the family or a new sibling to the family, support is given to the family on how to approach the child. The main purpose of behavioral therapy is to teach the child to stop thumb sucking. It is carried out in small steps and in cooperation with the family. The most important thing for families to know is that this behavior will not go away in an instant. However, this problem can be eliminated with regular follow-up and cooperation.

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