Thumb-Sucking and Pacifier-Sucking Habits in Children

Parents of babies and young children rarely go a day without having new questions about their tots. If you have questions about your child’s thumb- or pacifier-sucking habits, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are answers to five thumb- or pacifier-sucking questions that you are definitely not alone in asking:


1. Is thumb-sucking normal for babies and young children?

Yes, thumb-sucking is a normal habit for babies and young children. It develops naturally as an effective method of self-soothing.


2. Is it okay to give a baby a pacifier?
Yes, giving your baby a pacifier perfectly fine and, according to the Canadian Dental Association, even preferable to thumb-sucking because you have more control over when the pacifier is used.


3. Is thumb- or pacifier-sucking bad for oral health?
Thumb or pacifier-sucking does not pose any significant oral health issues in the first few years of life. However, the Canadian Dental Association recommends that sucking habits should stop before the age of 5, as it can cause problems once permanent teeth start coming in.


4. What sorts of problems can thumb or pacifier-sucking cause?
If your child continues their sucking habits for a prolonged period of time, then they may risk long-term dental problems such as cross-bite, improper teeth alignment, and teeth that appear to be pushed or pulled forward. These issues can lead to speech problems as well.


5. Can sucking habits be treated?
To help your child stop their sucking habits you can try offering incentives and rewards if they go a designated amount of time without doing it. Be stern but also kind with your child, making sure not to shame or embarrass them. Most importantly, if you have trouble getting your child to stop on your own, then you shouldn’t hesitate to get help from an Edmonton dental professional.


Our Edmonton dentists at the Westmount Dental Centre can help to ensure that your child’s oral health is well looked after. If you have any questions about your child’s or your own dental health, then take a look at the helpful and informative dental health resources we offer on our website, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the Westmount Dental Centre today.

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