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Effects of Prolonged Thumb Sucking & Pacifier Use; Crooked Teeth & Tooth Decay

Smile Reef

Kids can pick up some of the funniest habits, whether it is carrying around a particular blanket everywhere they go, wanting to wear the same t-shirt every day or biting finger nails. Some habits are harmless and comical while others can have long term effects on your child. Some of the more negative habits for a child to have are thumb sucking and the pacifier being constantly in their mouth. While sucking is natural for babies, it can turn into a nasty habit if turned to the thumb or pacifier for a long period of time. Getting your child to quit these habits can be frustrating, especially if they have been allowed to get away with it for so long.

Should Baby Use a Pacifier

Children are usually finished using a pacifier or sucking their thumb between the ages of two and four. Prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use will result in dental problems in the future. Taking care of these dental problems sooner rather than later will prevent even more severe issues down the road. While dentists prefer a pacifier over thumb sucking, the pacifier can still cause dental problems. If your child is struggling to go without a pacifier, you may want to look for an orthodontically correct pacifier, they are available, however going without will be much better for the child.

Don’t Dip Pacifier in Sugar

When a baby is new, some parents make the mistake of dipping the child’s pacifier into sugar, syrup or honey. This is never recommended and will make it much more difficult for the child to wean off of the pacifier. Although dipping the pacifier into a sweet sticky food may help calm your baby, it can also have negative effects on the teeth that are coming in as well. Another issue that young kids get poor dental health from is when they are sent to bed with juice in their bottle. Instead of pumping more sugar into their bodies and teeth, use bottle water instead, especially at night time.

Do Pacifiers Make Teeth Crooked & Damaged?

Prolonged use of the pacifier or thumb sucking will result in your child’s bottom teeth leaning forward, the top teeth slanting outward and even misalignment of the child’s jaw. The risk of any of these complications occurring is greatly increased when your child sucks their thumb or uses a pacifier for longer than what is recommended. If your child is struggling with thumb sucking or getting weaned off of a pacifier, try rewarding them for their efforts. Set small goals, like going a day without the pacifier or sucking the thumb. Start small and work up to going without on a permanent basis. Contact Smile Reef for a complete check up of your child’s teeth, to correct any issues that may have occurred due to thumb sucking or pacifier use.

thumb sucking

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