It perhaps is a very cute sight to see little children sucking at their thumbs. The flip side of it is the harm it does to their baby teeth and the effect it has on the soon to come permanent teeth. It certainly is a not a habit that parents should encourage and on the contrary should try to break it as soon as possible.
Why is thumb-sucking considered to be a major problem with kids?
Typically, children suck at their thumb for prolonged periods. This results in the front upper set of teeth to be pushed forward and the front lower teeth to be pushed back. This also causes an open bite and the teeth do not clasp together as they should. Esthetically it mars their appearance as well as the upper lip starts to shape over the pushed front teeth. Over time this becomes a permanent feature and affects the setting and alignment of the teeth in general. Beyond that, the open bite is also not a comfortable thing as chewing food the right way is a problem. Food is not digested properly, and hampers growth and development in children.
What you can do to stop your child from thumb-sucking:
What seems like a comforting factor for the children admittedly is a bigger problem than one can see. One has to adopt different ways to stop this habit, if simply talking to your child does not help.
One can use an unpleasant tasting substances on the thumb to stop the child from continuing to thumb-suck
You can glove the hand
Parents can also apply a temporary bandage to protect the thumb from being put into the mouth.
Pediatric dentists often use braces to stop thumb sucking. Braces with gates are a constant reminder to the child to stop sucking at his or her thumb.