July 17, 2023

How to Stop Sucking Your Tongue

Sucking the thumb or pushing on the tongue is a common behavior for small children as it is a way to self-soothe and relieve anxiety. Most of these children eventually out grow the habit of sucking their thumbs or thrusting on the tongue as they get older. However, many adults continue to suck their thumb or push on their tongues. While it may seem harmless to those outside of the habit, this can actually cause damage to a person’s oral structure and the development of their face. While there are fewer resources available for adult suckers, Zombek Orthodontics has some tips, tricks and methods that can help a person break this destructive habit in a comfortable and nonjudgmental environment.

The first step to breaking the thumb/tongue sucking habit is to keep a “busy box” of manipulatives around which will allow you to keep your thumb/tongue out of your mouth. This includes things like Play dough, Koosh balls, Silly Putty, Legos, books, lanyards, or stress balls to name a few. Often, sucking the thumb or pushing on the tongue happens as a result of boredom. Try to find other things to do and if necessary, limit TV time or video games. If you find you are still sucking after these attempts, a professional can help, such as an orofacial myologist. These professionals are licensed by medical, dental or speech communities and have specialized training in digit sucking habit elimination therapy.

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