Healthy people suck their thumbs. It’s a proven scientific fact. Thumb sucking benefits heart rhythm and breathing, while also regulating the muscles engaged in peristalsis of the digestive tract. Surprisingly, thumb suckers become emotionally independent at an earlier age. TS is definitely “nature” rather than “nurture”- many babies have been sucking for several months before even leaving the womb.
In spite of all the benefits, it’s probably not a good idea to suck your thumb during a job interview or on a first date. While there is some debate among psychologists over the best age to quit, most would agree that at some point during toddler-hood, thumb sucking stops aiding the child, and starts benefiting the orthodontist.
Thumb sucking is the first addiction – the quintessential “if it feels good, do it” – an activity that eventually takes on a life of its own after serving its purpose. Once the thumb is out of the mouth for good, other addictions will follow, addictions involving a substance (Diet Pepsi, alcohol, cocaine…) or perhaps an activity (shopping, gambling, sex…). All start out beneficial and/or enjoyable and end up eroding quality of life.