Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use

Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use

Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use

Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use


baby sucking on thumb

Normal dental development and maintenance involve a balance of forces between muscles of the lips, cheek and tongue. There are certain oral habits than can affect this balance; one of the most common is thumb-sucking. Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children, making babies feel secure and happy. Young children may also suck to soothe themselves and as a sleep aid.

Children may stop sucking their thumbs between the age of two to four years old or by the time the permanent front teeth erupt. If your child continues to suck their thumb or finger while permanent teeth are erupting, problems may occur with the alignment of teeth, and growth of the mouth. The intensity of the sucking is a major factor that determines whether those problems may occur.

Tips on how to help your child stop thumb sucking:

  • The most effective method to prevent thumb sucking is the ample use of the pacifier or the breast in the first three months. Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same way, but the child more readily abandons them. Use a bottle or a pacifier with Nuk nipple. Nuk system attempts to stimulate the anatomy of the human breast.

  • Do not punish your child when they are sucking, rather praise them when they are not sucking.

  • If your child sucks their thumb when feeling insecure or needing comfort, focus on underlying issues and provide comfort.

  • For an older child, involve them in choosing the method of stopping.

  • In certain cases, we may prescribe a mouth appliance. The appliance is used to prevent the thumb or finger from reaching the palate, thus reducing gratification and helping to break the habit.

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