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Dallas, TX 75240
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How Long Does it Take to Eliminate a Sucking Habit?

July 2016

Parents ask me all the time, “How long will it take before my child eliminates his or her sucking habit?”

Thumb/Finger sucking habits are quite normal in infancy and early childhood. Many children experience pleasure from these habits for the first few years of life and then terminate them of their own volition. However, it is important to understand that these habits may become excessive as time goes by and can adversely influence the formation of the bony oral structure and/or position of the teeth and can lead to a dental malocclusion. It can also cause the tongue to rest in a low, forward position causing an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) of an incorrect resting posture of the tongue and lips and an incorrect swallowing pattern (known as “tongue thrust”) as well as developmental of a speech disorder such as a lisp. In addition, there are risks of infection from communicable diseases due to the simple fact that they can be  be sucking non-sterile thumbs or fingers as well as social implications of ridicule by peers.

The length of time to eliminate a prolonged non-nutritive sucking habit has nothing to do with age but depends on 3 factors:

  • Intensity: How hard is the thumb or finger being sucked?
  • Frequency: How often during the day and night does the sucking act occur?
  • Duration: How long is the sucking act during each occurrence?

Each of these three factors may vary in degree from person to person. Therefore, no clear cut formula can be derived BUT it is known that:

Intensity + Frequency + Duration = Excessiveness

The more intense, the more frequent, and the longer the duration of the sucking habit, the more difficult it is to correct but Dr. Honor Franklin of Honor Franklin Myofuncitional and Speech Clinic is considered an expert in eliminating sucking habits in a very positive, non threatening and noninvasive way ~ and contrary to belief, the cessation of the thumb/finger sucking habit leaves no ill side effects or deep psychological scars. As an IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, Dr. Franklin is skilled in motivating patients of all ages to WANT to bring these habits under control. In fact, the termination of such a habit can become a very positive and gratifying experience for the patient and results in an increase in self-esteem and confidence!

During a child’s growth and development years, the structure has a remarkable ability to physiologically “rebound!” Here are some positive results that can occur following the successful elimination of prolonged non-nutritive sucking habits using Dr. Franklin’s sucking habit elimination program which is based solely on positive behavior modification and NO punitive dental devices!

Thumbsucking Before & After Photos-Dr. Honor Franklin

9 year old male patient – 7 visits over 8 months.

Thumbsucking Before & After Photos-Dr. Honor Franklin

7 year old female patient – 16 visits over 18 months.















(For more information, my last blog was on Thumbsucking habits. See Breaking a habit is a good rule of thumb.)

Call today to schedule an appointment at Honor Franklin Myofunctional and Speech Clinic 972-233-1312







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