Facts About Thumb and Pacifier Sucking

Tooth Character
To continue from last week’s blog post regarding dental care for babies, we felt it is necessary to talk about other baby habits that can affect oral hygiene such as using a pacifier or the baby sucking on their thumb.

According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, here is a list of quick facts regarding pacifier/thumb sucking:
  • Babies suck on their thumb or pacifier for pleasure, comfort and security. This habit can start before they are even born.
  • The AAPD recommends pacifiers over thumbs to comfort new babies. The pacifier habit is typically easier to break and could decrease the chance of orthodontic problems.
  • Thumb or pacifier sucking is normal for infants and children. Usually children will stop on their own, however if the child doesn’t, the habit should be discouraged by the age of 3.
  • Thumb or pacifier sucking can affect the teeth the same way. After a long period of time, there may be affects with the upper front teeth sticking outward. Other potential effects include problems with jaw alignment, tooth positioning or the bite.

It is very important that you visit a pediatric dentist or a dentist who devotes most of his or her time to children, by the age of one year.  As time goes on, support from your pediatric dentist, as well as family, can help children quit the pacifier or thumb sucking habit!