The Truth About Pacifiers and Thumbsucking
Sucking is an fundamental reflex that babies develop and practice in the womb as they prepare for their first meal. thumbsucking is a natural human instinct and babies use it to calm and soothe themselves. Regardless of whether children use their thumbs, fingers or a pacifier, sucking helps them feel secure, and placing objects in their mouths enables infants to explore their environment.
The good news is that normal thumb-sucking or pacifier use won't affect young children. Children usually stop on their own after they turn two and thumb-sucking is considered safe until they reach four. Parents need only worry if the child does not stop thumb-sucking by this age.
Persistent and long-term sucking, especially after the permanent teeth begin to come into the mouth around age 6, can cause the top front teeth to slant out or the bottom front to tilt in. It can also cause the upper and lower jaws to be misaligned and lead to the roof of the mouth to be narrowed.
There is a link between the intensity and length of thumb-sucking and damage done to the teeth: Children who have an aggressive sucking pattern or suck their thumb well beyond the age that most others quit increase their chances of needing the help of an orthodontist as teenagers.
If your infant uses a pacifier, buy only products that are constructed as one piece. There shouldn't be any parts that can break off and potentially be swallowed or breathed into the lungs. And, never fasten a pacifier on a strong or necklace around your child's neck. Your baby could accidentally be strangled.
Don't try to calm a fussy baby by dipping the pacifier in honey or sugar water.This will increase your child's risk of tooth decay.
If your child displays aggressive or long-term thumb-sucking habits or reliance on a pacifier, bring them to see Dr. Khetarpal for an evaluation. She can give you a better understanding of how these habits affect their dental development and be able to predict the need for dental braces or other orthodontic treatments down the line.
To discuss your child's thumbsucking and pacifier usage or to ask any other questions, please contact us immediately at 513-923-1215 or fill out the appointment request form to schedule now.