Thumb and Finger Sucking/Pacifier Habit

Thumb and Finger Sucking/Pacifier Habit

Here at Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics of Jackson, MI, we understand that pacifier, thumb, and finger sucking is normal for small children as they learn to self-soothe. Most children develop this habit as early as 18 months. Although these habits are normal, problems can arise with their teeth and jaw development as they grow older. The recommendation is that children cease these habits by 2-3 years old. Jaw growth and teeth problems can start in a child between 4 and 6. Most children tend to grow out of the habit independently by this time. In cases where habits persist, appliances or orthodontic therapy may be necessary to correct jaw and teeth problems.

How Can I Stop My Child Sucking Their Thumb/Pacifier?

The team at Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics of Jackson recommends:

  1. Finding something for your child to do with their hands, like playing with a new toy.
  2. Offer encouragement and praise your child for the small successes as they try to end their habit and be patient with them.
  3. Consider placing something protective over your child’s thumb or fingers, such as a glove, to discourage sucking.
  4. Discover the cause of the habit and why it developed. If you can establish this, the problem may be easier to solve!

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