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Thumb, Finger & Pacifier Habits

Q: Children suck on pacifiers, fingers and other objects for what reason?

Babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumbs even before they are born for security. Sucking is completely normal for babies and young children, as it is a way for them to make contact with and learn about the world.

Q: Are the teeth and jaws affecting by these habits?

No harm is done to your child’s teeth or jaws by sucking, however, some children repeatedly suck on an object over extended periods of time. In that case, the upper front teeth may tip toward the lip or not grow in properly. Most children stop sucking on thumbs, pacifiers or other objects on their own between the age of two and four.

Q: If my children have sucking habits, at what point should I worry?

There is no reason to worry about a sucking habit until the permanent front teeth are ready to come in. Your pediatric dentist will carefully monitor the way your child’s teeth grow in and jaws develop, keeping the sucking habit in mind at all times.

Q: Is there a way to prevent my children from their sucking habit?

Your pediatric dentist can encourage your child to stop their sucking habits by talking about what happens to the teeth if they do not stop. Some children need the help of their parents and their dentist, although most children stop their sucking habits on their own. If the advice from the pediatric dentist and parents does not work, your dentist may recommend a mouth appliance that blocks sucking habits.

Q: Are thumbs and fingers worse than sucking on pacifiers?

Sucking on thumbs, fingers and pacifiers all affect the teeth the same way, but a pacifier habit is easier to break.

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