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October 21, 2015

AS CHILDREN GROW OLDER, some parents begin to worry about their child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habits. This is a normal behavior for an infant, but the older a child gets, the more harm it can do to their oral and dental development.

The Pros And Cons Of Pacifiers

Pacifiers have many benefits for infants, including reducing a child’s chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or simply helping them drift off to sleep at night! However, if pacifier use or thumb sucking is prolonged, it can negatively impact your child’s growing teeth and mouth.

Some side effects of prolonged pacifier use and thumbsucking include:

protrusive upper front teeth,
tipped back lower front teeth,
open bite,
and crossbite.

There’s More Than One Way To Help Your Child Quit

When is the right time to help your child kick the habit of using a pacifier or sucking their thumb? To allow the body to correct any oral health issues that may have been caused by persistent sucking, the Academy of General Dentistry suggests that an infant quit using a pacifier before the age of 2. If your child enjoys sucking their thumb, it is best to help them stop no later than age 4.

Tips for helping your child quit thumb sucking:

Praise your child for not sucking her thumb, instead of getting angry or irritated when he or she does.
Consider rewards when your child abstains for a certain period of time.
Tips to help your baby quit using a pacifier:

Dip the pacifier in vinegar.
Pierce or cut the top of the pacifier to decrease the amount of sucking possible.

Let’s Visit About Your Questions Or Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habits please contact us! We would love to discuss what’s best for your child. Do you have any tips of your own for quitting pacifier use? Please share below!

Thanks for being a valued part of our practice family!

Image by Flickr user David Goehring used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.