Thumbsucking & Pacifiers

Giving up the thumbs.

Some children will want to suck their thumbs, others may want a pacifier. If you’re lucky, they won’t want either. Both can be hard habits to break, and both can mean trouble for teeth.

Here’s why: When constant pressure is placed on teeth they move. That’s the concept behind braces. So, if your child is constantly pushing their teeth open and outward with a finger, pacifier, or sippy cup, their teeth will move along with the pressure resulting in an “open bite.” Not only is this an aesthetic issue, but also a serious functional one. Swallowing, breathing, speaking, and chewing are all essential functions that could compromised.

Sprout Dental recommends using a pacifier until age 1, then, eliminating the habit before 18 months. As for those thumb suckers out there… well, it’s a bit more complicated because you can’t throw their fingers away! We will be happy to speak to you at length about what you can do to help kick the habit before it’s too late. If your child is age 5 or older, download our “thumb free” calendar to help stop the habit.