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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

PittsburghPenguinsFanatic
"aftershock" wrote: "NicolletteA" wrote: no. and you sound like the marketing people that stop me at the mall.  :/ lol, I'm not, i just kno someone whos making a new app and wanted to see if any1 would use it.   BTW what do u say to the marketing people at the mall? No. I don't like those people at the mall. Sometimes, they ask my family and I (usually directed at my mom and sister, but sometimes at me, too. Even though I'm under 13. Not for long though.) if they want their hair done. And sometimes I'm so tempted to say, "No thank you. I did my hair today. Do you think I want it done?" But of course I never do. It's kinda disrespectful. So we just usually say No thank you. My mom, sister, and I now have a solution for that (my idea when I was maybe ages 9-11) Don't make eye contact with them and pretend that they aren't there.
reply about 10 hours
BookWorm86
This is GREAT advice! Thx a lot StephRox!:) I have a younger brother & he can be EXASPERATING at times lol! Great advice!!:D
reply about 11 hours
Arenl
Arenl posted in Family Issues:
My little brother is annoying as ever, but I have to handle him. He is my brother after all.
reply about 11 hours
Arenl
Arenl posted in Family Issues:
@Sophieeee I definitely agree with you.
reply about 11 hours
Sophieeee
 Loosing a parent is hard, your dad knows that and I'm sure that he misses your mom just as much as you do. Whether you explain to him how you are feeling or not, you should know that your Dad will always love you and admitting to him how you feel isn't going to change that. Although it is completely understandable how you feel, you need to let your dad move one eventually. It's not fair to him if he has to spend the rest of his life alone. Even though you might not see it, its a good thin that your dad is finally feeling comfortable enough to date. It doesn't mean that he is letting go of your mom or that he will forget about her, it means that he is moving on with his life. You lost your mother and he lost the love of his life. Dating other people will probably start off being just as hard for him as it is for you. My advice is that you talk to your dad. Let him know how you feel in the most gentle and understanding way that you can. Don't flat out say that you don't want him dating anyone, tell him that you still miss your mom and its hard to see him with other people. Let me know how it goes, good luck. :)
reply about 11 hours