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Thumb sucking is universal and entirely harmless in infancy. It wanes inexorably over time for most children, but between 5% and 20% of children are still sucking their thumb after the age of 5 years. Chronic practice beyond the age of 5 years is associated with multiple threats to the health and well-being of the thumb-sucking child. Chronic practice is defined as sucking at home and in at least one other environment. For example, the habit of a child who sucks at home and school or at home and in the car would be considered chronic. The habit of a child who sucks only a little before bed would not be considered chronic. The health threats associated with chronic sucking are physical and psychological. The ...

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