Friday, December 2nd, 2005
DRM For Your Mouth: Anti-Thumb Sucking Technology Roundup
Little Miss abandoned her pacifier after six months and has yet to suck her thumb, but I recently saw a product called "Thumb Guard" in a toddler catalog. It reminded me of an Elizabethan dog collar â€“ a protective cone for your kid’s thumb instead of your dog’s neck, preventing him from doing bad things to his mouth. I just had to investigate further into Digit Restriction Management…
Thumb Guard by MEDetAL demonstrates that you are a parent who means business. This is a plastic tube slid over your child’s thumb and fastened to his hand. The fastener is a disposable plastic bracelet like the ID bracelets new moms, dads and infants get tagged with at hospitals â€“ if your kid breaks his bracelet to remove it, you’ll know.
The Thumb Guard isn’t merely a barrier. Air flow through the tube prevents the mouth from creating a seal and thus suction (thumb sucking) isn’t possible. The Guard comes in three sizes covering kids from 3 to 15 years old (sorry adults). Quite a bit of research went into developing the perfect thumb isolation chamber, as evidenced by MEDetAL’s gallery of historical anti-thumb-sucking appliance patents. The Thumb Guard can be purchased from One Step Ahead.
Blue Grass Habit Modification Appliance by the University of Kentucky is a dental device known in the industry as a "habit appliance." A metal contraption is fitted onto your teeth to halt thumb-induced tooth damage, alter tongue behavior and generally make thumb sucking a real downer. Check out this gallery of thumb habit appliances.
Mavala Stop is a liquid you apply to a thumbnail to make that delicious thumb turn sour. The liquid dries like clear enamel.
Caution: You can approach thumb sucking one of three ways: behavioral modification (reward and punishment), aversion therapy (changing the thumb sucking sensation) and mechanical intervention. Last month a mother was convicted of manslaughter when she used chili powder and it ended in tragedy. Talk to your dentist about your concerns before taking any prohibitive measures. Here is a primer on thumb sucking from the American Dental Association.