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Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Baby's Teeth

Sucking is a common instinct for babies and the use of a pacifier or their thumb offers a sense of safety and security, as well a way to relax.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the majority of children will stop using a pacifier and stop sucking their thumb on their own between the ages of two and four years of age. Prolonged thumb sucking or use of a pacifier can have dental consequences and needs be taken care of sooner, rather than later.

Many dentists favor pacifier use over thumb sucking because it makes it easier for parents to control and even limit the use of a pacifier. If thumb sucking lingers, the same strategies used to break the baby from using the pacifier can be used for thumb sucking.

Precautions

  • Try to find "orthodontically correct" pacifiers, as they may reduce the risk of dental problems.
  • Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey to calm the baby.
  • Give your baby a bottle of water at bedtime, never juice.

Dental Complications

Long term pacifier use can lead to an assortment of dental complications including:

  • The bottom teeth leaning inward
  • The top teeth slanting outward
  • Misalignment of the baby’s jaw

The risk of any or all of these things happening is greatly increased if thumb sucking and pacifier use is sustained after the baby’s teeth start to come in.

Breaking the Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habit

Most toddlers and children will stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of two and four on their own. However, if intervention is necessary here are a few tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Slowly decreasing the use of a pacifier can be effective for many children. This method does not work very well with thumb sucking.
  • Thumb sucking can be more difficult to break. the doctor may recommend using an over the counter cream that you put on the child’s thumb; it doesn’t taste good and usually does the trick.
  • Rewards can also help with the process.
  • If these simple commonly used strategies do not work, there are oral devices that will prevent a child from sucking their thumb or a pacifier.

Talk to the doctor and our team, as we have many tricks up our sleeves that will be effective in breaking your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use.

Our Location

285 Elm Street, Suite 200, Cumming, GA 30040

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Advanced Dental Associates

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-3:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

What Our Patients Say About Us

  • "I switched dentists, and got really lucky to have found this practice. The staff are great ! Dr. Orr is great !! Highly recommend."
    Brandi B.
  • "Dr. Wyatt & staff are always welcoming & kind. They get me back straight away & give me full details about my visits. I feel very comfortable with this group & travel quite a ways to see them specifically. I have some bad experiences with other dentists & feel these folks can be trusted."
    Kasey A.
  • "I always enjoy my visit to their offices! They take extra time to make sure I am comfortable!"
    David R.
  • "I have been going to Advanced Dental for about 11 years. My whole family sees them. We LOVE them! I used to hate going to the dentist, but I no longer dread it with them. They have a very caring staff!"
    Cassie S.
  • "I have always found the people at Dr. Joiner and Henderson's office to be caring and gentle. They don't try to push unneeded treatment on patients. The staff has always been professional and friendly."
    Mike R.