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Archive for August, 2014

Thumb Sucking

Smile Reef

thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal behavior that develops in many infants as a form of self-comfort. It is natural and healthy for infants to suck their thumb and often is a fool proof method for calming, provided that this habit decreases between ages 2 to 4. As children age, they may still be attached to their thumb and use it to sooth when they are stressed, tired or simply bored. Although the habit began harmlessly enough, children who persist in thumb sucking after their primary teeth come in, around age 6, risk the alignment of their teeth and jaw. Teeth alignment problems can also lead to speech impediments, and sometimes children who suck their thumb in school will be teased by peers.

Although you should not try to prevent your infant from sucking their thumb, if your child persists in sucking their thumb after their primary teeth come in it may be time to try and break them of the habit. There are different methods to break the thumb sucking habit, and paying close attention to when and why your child sucks their thumb will help you determine what will work best for your child.

•    Don’t focus on it too much Giving excess attention to the habit or harassing your child about thumb sucking can actually cause them to suck their thumb more.
•    Reward/focus on its absence- If you child isn’t sucking their thumb, praise their effort to stop the habit or give them small rewards if they don’t suck their thumb in a situation they normally would. Sometimes the reward can be as simple as putting a star on the calendar for every day they go without sucking their thumb.
•    Provide Distractions- If you observe your child sucking their thumb during a particular situation, such as driving in the car, watching TV or when tired, offer distractions. A new small toy in the car, finger puppets or an earlier bed time can help prevent your child from reverting to thumb sucking.
•    Physical Reminders- Sometimes placing mittens on a child’s hand while sleeping can help them remember not to suck their thumb or putting a Band-Aid around the thumb.

Sometimes simply being patient and waiting out the habit is enough, most children will stop sucking their thumb on their own. If your child has been unable to stop sucking their thumb and their primary teeth are coming in, contact your pediatric dentist to assess the potential risks to their oral health and for more solutions.

Cavities in Baby Teeth

Smile Reef


sugar and baby teeth                   Baby teeth, also known as Primary teeth, play a large role in developing the jaw and face of children. Cavities and tooth decay in baby teeth can be a serious problem that will affect the health of future teeth and could also lead to infection, painful symptoms and slurred speech.  If a cavity develops in a baby tooth it will of course fall out, but it could potentially affect the permanent teething coming in.


Sugar is one of the main causes of cavities in baby teeth. Try to avoid giving your baby sugary snacks or drinks, especially between meals. Juice can easily create cavities if babies have juice too often and it sits on their teeth for hours before brushing. It is also good to avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle.  The natural sugar found in milk and juice will turn to acid and attack baby teeth while they sleep. Pediatric dentists also recommend that you avoiding giving your baby juice before six months of age.


Most baby teeth that have cavities can be removed, but in some cases filling the cavity is the best option to avoid pain and other complications. If a primary teeth is removed too early, it could cause spacing problems for permanent teeth in the future. If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your child’s teeth doesn’t hesitate to contact Smile Reef today or schedule an appointment with Dr. Jensen. Dr. Jensen can answer any questions or concerns and ensure that your child’s teeth and gums are healthy.