Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Child’s Teeth

I am often asked how thumb sucking and pacifiers affect a child’s developing teeth and mouth. Is one better than the other? The short answer is no, there is no difference between sucking a thumb, fingers, pacifiers, or child w pacifier - pixabay free commercial use-1506941 640other objects. Sucking behaviors often comfort, soothe, help children fall asleep, and support feelings of security. But they should stop at an appropriate time.

Children usually outgrow sucking behaviors between the ages of 2 and 4. It is important that they stop thumb sucking and sucking on other objects (including pacifiers) before their permanent teeth emerge. Continuing thumb sucking can alter the development of your child’s mouth, the alignment of her teeth, and cause changes to the roof of her mouth.

If your child continues thumb sucking beyond a typical age, or if you begin to notice any changes in your child’s teeth, consult your dentist.  If you are having difficulty helping your child quit thumb sucking or pacifier use, ask your dentist for help.

To your child’s healthy teeth and mouth!