The Dangers of Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

Posted on 08/17/2017

Young child sucking on thumb

Babies need a lot of soothing, some soothing from their parents and some self-soothing. It is not uncommon to see a baby self-sooth in the womb by sucking on their thumb before they are even born.

As babies grow into toddlers, soothing methods must change too. Often children continue sucking on their thumb or pacifier as they grow older. This can become harmful to their teeth alignment and jaw development, because they are still growing. 

To stop these habits, first we recommend speaking to your child kindly letting them know their habit is a completely normal thing to do. When they are ready, let them know that you will work with them towards limiting thumb sucking to certain times of the day, like bedtime or evenings at home.

Second, set an incentive for them to stop. You know your child best. Choose something that feels comfortable to you.

And third, try putting a Band-Aid on their thumb to remind them not to put it in their mouth.

For pacifiers and sucking on blankets or other items, try gradually taking these items away limiting your child’s time with these items to certain times of the day.

Also, try cutting tips off the pacifiers. Doing this make it less enjoyable and prevents getting a good seal on the pacifier.

For rare, difficult cases, we do offer orthodontic appliances to help break the habit. Please contact us if you’d like more information. 

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