Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Depending on how long the thumb sucking or constant pacifier use continues, and how aggressively the child sucks a thumb or the pacifier, it can indeed be an oral health issue. Generally speaking, most children outgrow these behaviors or are able to be weaned off them successfully sometime between ages two and four. When children wean off the behaviors in this age range, long-term damage is unlikely.

Why Kids Suck Their Thumb or Pacifier

Both of these habits are actually a form of self soothing that your child likely uses when he or she is very upset, or feeling stressed, confused, frustrated, or unable to properly express the emotions. If your son or daughters is a regular thumb sucker, or the child wants to use the pacifier almost constantly, it is best to try to taper off these habits at a young age.

If your child continues to suck a thumb or request a pacifier consistently after leaving toddler-hood, this could be a source of concern, and it should be addressed with Drs. Marks, Leder, Ghusson, Kudryk, Safin, and Mazlin and our staff. We will be able to evaluate your child's mouth to look for any signs of damage such as palate changes or teeth shifting.

Say Goodbye to Old Habits

In the event that your child is quite reluctant to give up a pacifier or thumb-sucking habit, there are a few things you can do to discourage these behaviors.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Does Your Young Athlete Really Need a Mouthguard?

Shin guards, helmets, and pads protect athletes from bumps and bruises, but if your child’s not wearing a mouthguard, too, their teeth are just a line drive away from severe damage. Find out more about protecting your kid’s teeth from risk.

5 Tips for Avoiding Dry Sockets

You may not relish the idea of a tooth extraction, but today’s procedures are fairly simple and not too painful — unless you get dry socket. Find out what causes this condition and how you can avoid it.

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?

The very term “root canal” conjures scary images and the anticipation of pain. But modern root canal procedures aren’t much different from getting a deep filling. Learn how to spot the signs that your tooth might need this tooth-saving procedure.

Adjusting to Life With Dentures

Finding out you need dentures may trigger memories of your grandparents’ “fake teeth” and how they used to pop out unexpectedly. Today’s dentures are a far cry from what you remember. Check out our tips for living with your new and improved dentures.

The Advantages of Choosing Invisalign®

If you’re tired of crooked teeth or an abnormal bite, consider Invisalign®, a popular tooth straightening option for teens and adults who don’t want metal braces. Read on to learn about the advantages of choosing Invisalign.