first dental visit
Pacifier Use, Thumb Sucking and Finger sucking
pacifier use and thumb sucking

What can happen with extended thumb or finger sucking?

If your child sucks their thumb or fingers it can cause problems in their teeth early on. The effects become more noticeable around age 6, when their adult front teeth start erupting. If the sucking continues, it can cause problems with the proper alignment and growth of their teeth and mouth. It may cause changes in the roof of their mouth as well.

Whether thumb or finger sucking can lead to dental problems, depends on how long, often and strongly your child is sucking their thumb or finger.

Your child may also develop speech patterns, such as lisping.

What about pacifiers?

Pacifiers do cause the same problems as thumb or finger sucking, although it is easier to help a child break that habit.

Tips on pacifiers:

  • When cleaning a pacifier don’t use your own mouth, you run the risk of passing decay and bacteria to your baby
  • Never dip the pacifier in sugar or honey
  • A child should stop using a pacifier around 2 years of age

Why does a child suck on things?

It is a natural infant reaction and reflex and is necessary when feeding. A lot of babies start sucking on their fingers even before they are born. It is also a relaxing feeling, so if they’re feeling insecure, seeking comfort or even trying to fall asleep it is a normal reaction. Teething may also be cause for a child to suck on their thumb or fingers.

How to help your child stop sucking

A lot of children stop sucking on their own around age 2 to 4. As a child gets older and learns to talk they have other ways to handle anxiety and new situations. Peer pressure can also cause a child to stop.
However if your child does not stop on their own, it is important that you help to discourage the habit.

Here are some tips on how to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumb/fingers or pacifiers.

  • Use praise for not sucking their thumb instead of scolding
  • Focus on helping your child find other ways to feel calm and relaxed.
  • Use rewards when your child avoids sucking during difficult times.
  • A pediatric dentist can help encourage your child to stop and can explain what can happen to the teeth if they continue.
  • You can also try putting a sock on their hand at night to discourage the habit
  • If your child still cannot break the habit you can talk to your child’s dentist for alternative methods to help your child to stop sucking. There are different appliances or medication to help prevent thumb or finger sucking.


first dental visit

If you have any other questions and/or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, click here or call us: 702-586-4347

Call us and schedule your child’s appointment today: (702)586-4347