Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS

Dental Blog

How to Kick the Thumb Sucking Habit

Hannah Johnson - Friday, July 27, 2018

Thumb sucking is a natural habit and perfectly normal for infants and can be soothing to them, so most experts agree that children under the age of 5 should not be pressured to stop sucking their fingers (unless their permanent teeth are coming in or if it’s causing speech issues) because most children around age 5 will naturally quit sucking their thumb. On the other hand, research has proven that if a child older than 3-5 years old (whenever their permanent teeth begin to come in) continues to suck their thumb, it can cause teeth to be pushed forward resulting in braces and/or additional dental issues. If you’re concerned about their finger-sucking habit, then continue to read on to help him or her break it!

1. The first step is to explain to your child that sucking his or her thumb can be bad for them if they continue. Explain that it spreads germs that could make them sick, it could cause other children to tease them when they get into school, and that it could even result in speech problems. The talk alone may not get them to stop right away but they will have more will-power to quit when you use these next few tips below.

2. Practicing positive reinforcement is a good way to stop your child from sucking his or her fingers. Praising your child or placing a sticker on the calendar every day your child refrains from thumb-sucking and offer a reward when he or she gets so many stickers can be a great solution. Because thumb-sucking may occur when your child is feeling anxious or stressed, offer them comfort with a hug or hand hold.

3. During the early stages of thumb-sucking, instead of always pacifying him or her by sucking, try alternatives such as rocking, massaging, or singing. The earlier your child learns there are other ways to find comfort, the better. If they need something to suck when they’re younger, always encourage a pacifier because it’s easier to take away when the time comes.

4. Figure out when your child is most likely to suck their thumb and substitute a different activity they can do with both hands to make them forget about sucking their thumb, maybe while watching tv, suggest playing a game instead like tossing a ball or playing finger puppets. Or maybe when reading a bed time story, instead of letting them suck their thumb while you read, have them hold the book themselves.

5. Try not to pressure them too much if they’re not giving it up right away. They indulge in this habit to give them comfort and security, so nagging and punishing them to stop may cause them to want to do it even more.

You can do it with these tips above! Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us 337-704-2126


5 Tips for a White and Bright Smile

Hannah Johnson - Thursday, July 12, 2018

A smile is one of the very first things that is noticed on a person, whether it be a first impression or someone you pass by every day. Everyone wants to know how to keep their pearly whites… well, white! In this article, we’re going to show you some tips and tricks on how to make your smile brighter. Before we get into it, we want to answer a question that we get asked often – “Why are my teeth turning yellow?”

The first reason may be simply because you’re getting older. It’s natural for teeth to begin to yellow as we age because the enamel begins to fade over time because of the daily wear on your teeth. Another reason may be because you smoke, drink things that stain your teeth such as coffee, tea or wine in excess, or it may be because you’re on certain medication such as antibiotics, antihistamines, etc. It can also be because of a poor diet that includes acidic sodas, candies, and even some fruits.

Healthy Habits After Eating and Drinking

When you eat or drink, especially acidic things, it’s very important to wash away any leftover particles from your mouth so it doesn’t stay on your teeth very long. If you can, brush your teeth after eating or drinking. At the very least, you should drink a glass of water or chew sugarless gum to wash away the excess food particles and acid that can disrupt the tooth’s enamel.

Avoid Bad Habits

Smoking cigarettes, drinking acidic sodas, coffee, tea, wine and eating a lot of processed foods can pretty much guarantee yellowing teeth. It’s very important to cut back on these things as much as possible and if not, we recommend getting your teeth cleaned every three months or so, as well as trying some of these natural teeth whitening tips below.


Berries have many antioxidants which are really great for your teeth and they also have whitening properties. To try it for yourself, mash up a couple of strawberries, rub it on your teeth then rinse well. Give yourself healthy teeth from the inside out by eating healthy foods such as yogurt and milk which are high in calcium, leafy greens, apples, celery and nuts.

Peroxide and Baking Soda Mixture

Half water and half hydrogen peroxide can be used as a teeth whitening mouth rinse by itself. Peroxide acts as a natural antiseptic which keeps breath fresh longer and washes away bad bacteria. Another way to use it for whitening your teeth is by making a paste with peroxide and just a little bit of baking soda (the paste should be runny, not thick) and using a toothbrush to rub it into your teeth gently, even all the way in the back.

Take Advantage of Our In-Office Whitening Treatment

If you have a special event coming up soon or if you’re looking for a quick fix, you can always come in and get an in-office whitening treatment. We now offer Philips Zoom QuickPro Whitening Treatment that only takes a few minutes, so any regular dental visit can turn into a whitening appointment, too!

Call our office today to learn more about our teeth whitening treatment options! 337-704-2126


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Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS Family Dentistry


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