Q. My 5-year-old granddaughter sucks her thumb. Is there something that tastes bitter or unpleasant I can buy to put on her thumb to remind her to not suck it?
A. Most children give up on thumb sucking before they are 5. The American Dental Association says that thumb sucking does not cause problems until after this age.
You may be more successful distracting her with activities that require two hands. If your granddaughter wants to stop sucking her thumb, painting something yucky on it may help remind her to stop. Some parents have used pickle juice or vinegar.
Others use commercial products. Thum contains cayenne pepper extract and citric acid. Control-It has denatonium. These preparations taste bad and remind the child not to suck. Search online or ask your pharmacist to order one. There is also a Lycra glove-like device that covers the thumb. It is called Thumbusters.
Nagging is counterproductive. Most children will stop when they experience peer pressure.