Sucking on thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers is a normal part of everyday life for most infants. Most children will stop sucking their fingers or using pacifiers by age 4.; however, if finger and pacifier sucking continues, it can cause significant damage to your child’s teeth and oral development. Dr. Robert Lo Giudice and associates offer several solutions to help break sucking habits and prevent your child from developing oral complications. For more information about pacifier and thumb sucking treatments in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and to schedule an appointment at Adaptive Dental Associates, please call us today at 908-847-4498.

While pacifier and thumb sucking may seem harmless, they can cause significant damage over time. Some of the most common problems that develop as a result of sucking habits include:

  • Jaw misalignment
  • Tooth decay
  • Roof narrowing
  • Slanting, misaligned, or oddly positioned teeth
  • Mouth sores

There are several things you can do to reduce or prevent these problems from occurring.

If you purchase a pacifier, be sure to buy a one-piece pacifier that is an “orthodontically correct” model. Be sure to rinse it with water rather than your own mouth, and do not dip it in honey or sugary liquids to sweeten it for your child.

When encouraging children to stop thumb or pacifier sucking, remember that it can take time. Patience and continued gentle intervention are often the most effective methods for breaking this habit. Here are a few helpful suggestions to guide you in this process:

  • Ask the dentist to speak with your child – sometimes hearing it from a dental professional will have more of an impact
  • Purchase an ADA-recommended oral appliance to make sucking behaviors more difficult
  • Implement a reward system for when your child does not suck his or her fingers
  • Wrap the thumbs in soft cloths or mittens at night

Our dentists can also provide additional suggestions and treatments if the guidelines above do not work. If you have questions or concerns, please contact our office.