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Dear Dish-it: Breaking a Bad Habit

Jul 05, 2013

Dear Dish-it,

I have sucked my thumb ever since I was little. Now I'm going into 6th grade and I still suck my thumb. Whenever I'm not sucking it I'm eating and I'm starting to get worried because my teeth are starting to push out. Please help!

Thumb Sucker

Dear Thumb Sucker,

Breaking a bad habit is hard to do, especially when you've been doing it all your life. Unfortunately, thumb sucking after age 5 can cause many problems, both with your dental health and your skin.

Dental Problems

Once you have your permanent teeth, it's important to take good care of them. As you mentioned, thumb sucking can cause your teeth push out. This will eventually give you an overbite or alignment problems that only an orthodontist can fix. By breaking this habit now, you could potentially save your parents thousands of dollars. Along with dental problems, you could also begin to experience speech problems, such as a lisp.

Skin Problems

Prolonged thumb sucking will eventually cause skin irritation on your thumbs. This could come in the form of calluses, dry or chapped skin, or even fingernail infections that could slow or stop the growth of your nail. Chapped skin on your thumb will likely entice you to suck more, but resist the urge! It will only make it worse.

Solutions

Cold turkey is obviously the best way to break any habit, but I'm sure by now you've tried that. Don't replace this bad habit with another one, like eating or nail-biting. This will only lead to further problems down the line. Instead, try applying bitter-tasting nail polish to your thumb nails. This technique is commonly used to stop nail-biting, but it could also work for you as it will make your thumbs taste bad. In place of this polish, you could also spray your thumbs with perfume or hair spray. If this doesn't work for you, try wearing mittens or gloves. Obviously, this isn't practical for school, but at home, and especially in bed at night, this could prevent any unconscious thumb sucking.

Have Your Say

Do you have any advice for Thumb Sucker? Tell us in our comment section below!

 

82 Comments

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Poll-badhabit

What's your bad habit?

  • Procrastinating (waiting until the last minute to get things done)
  • Nail-biting
  • Lying
  • Forgetting to Brush Your Teeth

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Style:
lisp or not, i'm sure you're a nice person. i don't even know if you can get rid of this lisp- maybe practice speaking at home, try different movements with your lips or mouth, i don't know. don't let a lisp make you less confident, that doesn't change anything about you as a person. be yourself and be confident.
reply 1 day
Ezma
Ezma posted in Style:
Dear Dish it, Im already a grown teen but I don't think I am that easy to get along whem meeting new friends in school. And I think its because I lose my confidence cause I got some speech defect which called lisp. I often sometimes looks weird when theyre talking to me and It really affects me. What should I do? I have read and tried all the practice and therapy I read in the internet for a year but it doesnt make a change. I hope you help me
reply 1 day
inkdeath
inkdeath posted in Family Issues:
I always remind myself with this quote:This too, shall pass. 
reply 2 days
Cupcakesss123
I think your parents dont want u to be crazy like your friends n your friends arent bad so i guess u should talk to your friends parents over phone or sum n let them meet your parents :D 
reply 2 days
donteatcarrots
you really need to have a proper chat with your parents. you're doing really well in school, and seem to have a good set of friends, and tell them that you should be able to go out, i mean you've done nothing wrong and surely should be allowed a little freedom in return?
reply 2 days