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Dental Problems/Oral Habits

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Oral Habit Elimination Program

Thumbs Up! is an oral habit elimination program that incorporates behavioral modifiation and positive reinforcement to break the habit and reverse the negative effects of thumb/finger sucking and prolonged pacifier use.  This fun 30-day program empowers a child and motivates them to accomplish their goal of eliminating sucking habits.  With just a little hard work and a few rewards along the way, this program has PROVEN to be effective and the best part...No harsh or painful appliances are used!

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Before Thumbs Up! program

What's wrong with thumb/finger sucking and prolonged pacifier use?

Although not considered a serious problem by many as far as habits are concerned, if thumb, finger or pacifier sucking persists longer than it should, some not-so-pleasant problems develop.  Sucking habits can speed up the growth of the upper jaw, slow down the growth of the lower jaw, and cause improper alignment of the teeth.  

Other long-term complications may also develop.  Constant pressure by the thumb, fingers or pacifier can cause a high narrow palate, early loss of baby teeth, abnormal swallowing patterns, improper tongue position, and speech problems.

Children who can break the habit typically enjoy an improved appearance, an ability to speak more clearly, and better dental health.

After Thumbs Up! program

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When is the best time to break the habit?  

The best time to break the habit is before the permanent teeth grow in, at around the age of 4 to 6.  If your child is older and continues to suck their thumb, finger or pacifier, don't worry!  Therapy performed by a qualified speech pathologist with training in orofacial myology can usually begin to reverse the negative effects of sucking habits in just a few weeks.  Therapy with a qualified speech pathologist in conjuction with a dentist or orthodontist is the best course of action.    

What is the best way to help my child stop their sucking habit? 

Some methods are better than others.  The therapy known as behavioral modification has proven to be at least 90% effective.  Instead of using negative reinforcement (such as with an appliance) to break the habit, positive reinforcment establishes self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment in your child.  

The Thumbs Up! Sucking Elimination Program uses the power of positive reinforcement as a motivator, allowing your child to take charge of breaking his or her own habit with guidance and support from both the therapist and parents.  The program creates a sense of self-satisfaction that quickly and effectively replaces the child's thumb, finger or pacifier sucking desire.  

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