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25Feb2015

Pacifiers, Thumb Sucking And Oral Health

SOME PARENTS BECOME CONCERNED about their child’s thumb sucking and pacifier habits. These habits are normal. However, it is important to help your child discontinue them before they become an impediment to proper oral and dental development.

Pacifiers Are Often A Good Thing

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, pacifier use can reduce the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They can also sooth your baby and help her sleep (there’s a reason they’re called pacifiers!). The same thing holds for thumb sucking. But when prolonged, both can also negatively affect the development of an infant’s teeth and mouth.

When Should Pacifier Use And Thumb Sucking Stop?

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests it is best that an infant quit using a pacifier before the age of 2. This allows the body to correct any abnormalities in the jaw or teeth caused by sucking. If you have a child who sucks his thumb, the American Dental Association suggests trying to get your child to 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 mad when she does.
  • Consider rewards when your child abstains for a certain period of time.
  • Some parents put socks over hands while child is sleeping.

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.
  • Consider the pros and cons of having your baby quit cold turkey.

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!

Top image by Flickr user Bjørn Giesenbauer used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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