Dental Issues Associated With Thumbsucking & Pacifier Use

Published on September 14th, 2017

Just like you give your baby a pacifier to calm them when they are upset, thumbsucking is a natural reflex for many children when they want to feel secure and comforted. Other babies and children may need to do this to soothe themselves in order to fall asleep. But did you know that pacifier use and thumbsucking can cause issues with your permanent teeth down the line?

As your child’s permanent teeth grow in, this sucking can impact the growth of the mouth, alignment of their teeth, and cause changes in the roof of the mouth. How your child sucks their thumb can also play a role in the development of mouth and teeth issues. If your child rests their finger passively in their mouth while they suck, they are less likely to develop any dental problems. However, if they aggressively suck their thumb, they pose a much higher risk of developing dental issues because they are putting pressure on their teeth and the roof of their mouth.

Typically, children grow out of their pacifier use and thumbsucking habit between the ages of two and four – when their primary teeth start to grow in – but if they don’t naturally kick this habit, you may want to step in and help. A few popular tactics include praising/rewarding your child when they don’t suck their them or need a pacifier, cutting off the end of the pacifier nipple, putting a bandaid on your child’s thumb, or coating the thumb with a prescribed bitter medication.

If these tips don’t work or you have questions/concerns about your child’s teeth and thumbsucking, contact your dentist to learn more!

Courtesy of Mouth Healthy

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