Monday, February 16, 2009

Stopping Nail Biting and Thumb Sucking Habit among Children

Repetitive nail biting is one of the habits among children and teenagers. This habit happens about 30 per cent among children aged between seven to 10 years old and about 45 percent among teenagers.

It is not a phase that children must go through. It happens without the persons being aware because nail biting is one of the psychological habits to reduce the stress that they have.

They also can bite their nails when they feel excited or bored. This habit sometimes is learned from other family members who experience the same problem.

Effects of Nail Biting
Boys experience more nail biting than girls after the age of 10 years old. Some adult will stop biting their nail after they achieve the age of 30 years and on. Nail biting would result normal nail growth being affected and create imperfect nails.

Other negative effect of nail biting is the skin at the fingertip near the nail will become more sensitive to pain stimulation and it can be infected by germs.

When children scratch with the germs infected nail from saliva, chance to get infection on the skin scratched is high. Sometimes bacteria that been underneath the damaged nail enters into the mouth and could cause intestinal infection. It could also cause gum infection.

Stopping Nail Biting and Thumb Sucking
There are several ways to avoid children from doing this habit. The first way is by making changes to the attitude itself that is by replacing the habit with more advantageous activity like drawing, writing and coloring.

The second way is by making physical deterrent such as ensuring the nails are always cut short, using glove to prevent of nail biting or putting bitter taste nail polish on the nail. Children psychiatrist can help in this treatment.

Sucking thumb also is a habit which is done by babies and children to calm themselves from problem or pressure. Thumb sucking is harmless.

Usually this problem happens to children aged two years old and stopped by its own when their age reached four years old. Just a few only continues having this habit up to their teenage age.

Most of them suck thumb for pleasure or when they experience stress or feel sad. If they still suck finger in adult age, pressure from friends would result this habit to stop on its own.

Parent need not to be worried or take action by scolding the child who have this habit, on the other hand, they should take positive approach.

Thumb sucking habit usually will not cause damage to normal teeth formation. Thumb sucking among small children can be replaced with sucking artificial nipple. For bigger children, parents can provide information in good ways about the bad thumb sucking habit and together with their children to seek a way to handle the problem.


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