Keep Good Teeth Habits

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

Parents always want to make sure they provide the best for their children and ensuring healthy teeth is just one of the ways to do this. One of the questions many parents have is whether their child sucking on a thumb or pacifier can harm their teeth. There are a few things parents need to understand with this.

Keep Good Teeth Habits

Why Children Suck on Their Thumb or Pacifier

This is used as a method of self soothing for the child. This is usually seen in babies as well as toddlers. Most children are able to get past the need to suck their thumb or on a pacifier by the time they reach 4 years old.

Will This Cause Damage to the Teeth?

As long as the child stops sucking their thumb or pacifier by the time they are out of toddlerhood then this should not be an issue. However, if they continue to suck their thumb or pacifier after this then it could indeed cause damage to the teeth. This is why older children who still use sucking as a means of self soothing should see a doctor to help address the cause and help prevent further damage to the teeth.

How to Help a Child Stop This Bad Habit

For children who do not want to give up their thumb and pacifier sucking habits on their own this can be difficult. For pacifier suckers, parents can start to “hide” the pacifiers if children are unwilling to give them up. Another option is to just not give into your child except at certain times of the day, such as naptime and bedtime.

Thumb sucking can be a little more difficult to stop as the child always has their thumbs with them! One of the best ways to handle this is to start making them conscious of what they are doing and having them stop when you see them. Parents may even reward them for improvements.

For parents who are concerned about the longer term effects of their child’s thumb and pacifier sucking, the best thing to do is to see a pediatric dentist. When Houstonian parents go with quality pediatric dentistry in Houston, parents will find the children are more comfortable and the staff is more helpful.