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Is thumbsucking really that bad? Sure, it’s a bit annoying to look over and see your child walking around, playing or even sleeping with his thumb stuck in his mouth, but is it that big of a deal?

The truth is Yes. While thumbsucking may offer some calming benefits to your child when he or she is stressed, tired or upset, the long-term damage it can do to their mouth and oral development is pretty significant. And while it’s a hard habit to break- after all, you can’t really take away their thumb- it’s necessary to intervene and try to kick this habit at an early age. While many believe that this habit won’t impact a child’s teeth until they start getting their permanent teeth, the truth is that thumbsucking can have an impact on a child’s mouth, jaw and language development as early as 2 to 4 years of age.

Sucking puts pressure on the sides of the upper jaw, as well as the soft tissue on the roof of the child’s mouth. This can cause the upper jaw to narrow, in turn causing the teeth not to meet properly on top and bottom. Thumbsucking can also cause an open-bite and/or crossbite, which can both lead to chewing and speech problems. While most issues can be fixed with orthodontics, it’s a costly and timely process that can be lessened by breaking the thumbsucking habit.

What can you do to help your child break the habit?

Start early. Thumbsucking generally begins as a soothing mechanism. At an early age, it’s important to start giving your child alternative ways to soothe and cope with anxiety. Offering a favorite toy or blanket in place of their thumb when he or she is upset or tired. Sometimes singing or humming can occupy them and keep their mouth busy. Also, finding an activity to keep their hands busy, such as a fidget cube or other hand-held activity that will require them to use their thumb, rather than keep it in their mouth.

There are different theories on how to get your child to stop sucking his or her thumb. As your Anderson kids dentist, we recommend encouraging the behavior to stop through positive reinforcement and child-led progress, rather than forcefully preventing the behavior or shaming the child. While it’s tempting to rip your child’s hand away from his or her mouth every time that you see them sucking their thumb, it’s important to remember that this is a soothing mechanism and creating anxiety around the behavior will only increase your child’s need to self-soothe. In the end, most children do eventually stop sucking their thumbs. However, we also know that the earlier you bring awareness to the issue and begin providing alternative coping mechanisms, the better off your child’s smile will be.

According to family psychologist, Jenn Berman, in the WebMD article listed below, there are several ways to positively encourage your child to stop sucking his or her thumb. Anderson Pediatric Dentistry encourages you to try to break the habit early and provide your child with alternative soothing strategies that won’t damage their teeth or create expensive orthodontic problems down the road.

1.  Try to limit the time that your child sucks on his/her thumb to the bedroom or in the house. Explain that this is a nap or sleeping activity.

2.  Don’t make it confrontational. Instead, find times when your child is coping without thumbsucking and praise him or her. Focus on the positive reinforcement.

3.  Talk to your child about thumbsucking and the damage it can cause and explain why you want them to stop and keep their smile beautiful. Empower your child to make the decision.

4.   Practice self-awareness with your child. When you see him sucking his thumb, ask him if he is aware that he is doing it. Most children do not realize that they are sucking their thumbs as often as they are.

5.  For older children that are having a harder time breaking the habit, especially when it’s used less for self-soothing, and more because it’s just a deeply ingrained habit, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry does recommend using a thumb-guard to physically prevent the child from sucking his or her thumb. These devices not only prevents further thumbsucking, but helps draw awareness to the issue. Your child is able to have a gentle reminder each time that he or she tries to put his or her thumb in his mouth.

Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is your neighborhood, kids dentist. We know that raising happy, healthy and confident kids is hard work. And we want to help. Whether it’s breaking bad habits, routine cleanings, x-rays, sealants or treatment planning, we are your Anderson, SC kids dentist! If you are looking for a dental home for your child, we welcome you. Call our office to day at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!


The temperatures may not agree, but according to the calendar, fall is here. And if you are going to fit in all the fun fall festivities, you better start now! From apple-picking to pumpkin patches, haunted houses and fall festivals, September and October are slammed with family-friendly activities. Don’t know where to start? Never fear. Your friendly neighbor, and favorite Anderson, SC kids dentist, is here to help with a list of our favorite fall activities.

Apple Picking

The mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina are full of orchards that offer apple picking this time of year. Depending on the type of apple you like, you better go soon!

We like Skytop Orchard, partly because we have a great time every time we visit, but also partly because it’s the only one we have visited- yet. There are several to choose from that seem to offer the full-family experience, with activities ranging from playgrounds to hayrides.

One thing that we do find handy is the ripening schedule listed on Skytop’s page, here. As you can see, if you wait for the cooler weather to arrive, you will likely come home with a bushel of Granny Smith apples, as most of the other varieties will have already been picked.

Other nearby orchards:

Bryson’s Apple Orchard

Justus Orchard

Grandad’s Apples

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

Denver Downs

Fall Fun begins here at Denver Downs! Find your way through our 10 acre corn maze, enjoy a tractor pulled hayride, see the adorable farm animals, play in the haybarn, ziplines, giant slide, jumping pillow, mini maze, low ropes course, ballzone, farmin’ foosball, Little Farmer's corral, farm tricycles, giant spiderweb, tire mountain, pumpkin bowling, Farm Style Minecraft and much More! Weekends enjoy bonfires, live music, and our famous pig races. Sold Separately: Concession / Dukes Sandwiches combo meals, Pumpkin and Sun Flower picking, and New for 2019 Gem Mining! For those who like spooky we have our Seace room this season in the barnyard. Fall Festival/ Corn Maze is open September 28- November 10. Visit their website to see all the activities and schedule of events.


Pumpkin Patch

Trinity United Methodist Pumpkin Patch

Looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve? Want to get a great photo of your kid sin the middle of beautiful pumpkins? Look no further than the pumpkin patch at Trinity United Methodist church. Open October 9-31, this is more than just a pumpkin patch, it’s a fundraiser for various charities. In fact, all the profits from the pumpkin patch go to charity. The church doesn’t keep a penny. You can find your perfect pumpkin and help fund a need, all at the same time!

According to Trinity’s website, the pumpkins come from a fundraising organization, called Pumpkins USA, that partners with the Navajo Indians in New Mexico. Hey grow, load and deliver the pumpkins to the church with set prices. The church is able to keep a percentage of the sale price to give to charities. The more pumpkins that are sold, the more money the church is able to make to give away to the selected charities.

If you are looking for other options, or maybe want to make a full day out of it, there are several other pumpkin patches that would make great day trips for the family!

Check out this website to see some of South Carolina’s top pumpkin patches.

Boo in the Zoo

Trick-or-treat your way through the zoo during this event at the Greenville Zoo.

Prisma Health Boo in the Zoo takes place October 18-20 & 25-27. The event will feature 20 trick-or-treat stations; character photo opportunities, including princesses; an extinct species graveyard, Dragon Alley and Alice's Fun House!


Trunk or Treat

Looking for a safe and controlled environment for your children to trick-or-treat? Check out one of the many trunk-or-treat events around town, where kids are able to go from car to car and receive candy without the chaos of walking down dark, busy streets. At most of these fun events, the cars and volunteers will be dressed up so you never know what you might find! And if you are still set on the traditional Halloween trick-or-treating, you can use these events as a warm-up. Some start as early as the first weekend in October!


Junior League of Anderson County’s Spooktacular

Hosted by the Junior League of Anderson County, the Spooktacular is a family-friendly, fall-festive, event that features games and activities, a silent auction and raffle, vendors, food trucks, hayrides, costumes, contests and more.

This year’s event will be held Sunday, October 20, 2019 at Walker Century Farms from 2:00-5:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the event or via EventBrite. Admission is $5.00 per person.

Whichever events you choose, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wishes you and your family a happy fall, full of good cheer, healthy smiles and lots of great oral hygiene! Remember to brush and floss after those sugary sweets and choose foods wisely to avoid pulling out fillings! If your child doesn't have them already, it's a great time to consider dental sealants on their permanent teeth to help prevent future cavities!

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to be more than Anderson's best pediatric dentist. We want to be your partner in oral health, a friendly face for your child and a go-to resource for your dental needs. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, give us a call today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!