Kiddie Dental Talk: How To Stop Pacifier Use and Thumb Sucking?Sucking on the thumb and pacifier is a habit that most kids and babies have. They display this behavior when feeling comfortable, nervous, or engaged in their sleep.

Though considered normal, thumb sucking and pacifier use is an unhealthy habit that babies or kids should stop doing once they reach a specific age. Just imagine your child still sucking his or her thumb at age 10. It will look very awry not only for strangers but for friends as well.

Making their children stop thumb sucking or using pacifiers is tricky for parents. Once it’s attempted, babies and kids immediately throw a fit. So how to stop this habit is a simple question that’s hard to answer. Just like others, this article aims to be a source that provides you with some effective ways.

Does Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use Affect Your Child’s Teeth?

Habitual thumb sucking and pacifier use can cause misalignment of the teeth and deform the general structure of the mouth. Kids who love to thumb suck or suck on a pacifier can have teeth that protrude toward the outside or the inside, arching frontal teeth, and misshapen roof of the mouth.

Bite issues are another concern that sucking on the thumb and pacifiers cause. It’s also likely for speech problems to manifest like lisping and difficulties in pronouncing specific consonant sounds.

But dental problems are only a fraction of the actual concerns. This unhealthy habit can isolate your child from others, cause parasitic infestations in the stomach, and infections in the mouth.

When Should You Be Concerned?

As said earlier, thumb sucking or the use of pacifiers is normal. Your kid will stop this habit on his or her own by age three or four.

Even so, you have to be on the lookout. In some cases, your child might continue to display this habit upon reaching five, six years old, or older.

You have to make the child stop as soon as his or her permanent teeth have grown. It’s very important to maintain the integrity of the permanent teeth because they affect your child’s dental health from the present until adulthood.

Effective Ways To Stop Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use

So how do you stop your kid from thumb sucking and pacifier use? These are some of the most effective ways:

Tell The Child About The Disadvantages of Thumb Sucking

Talking to the child is the earliest intervention for habitual thumb sucking and pacifier use. This method needs to be done continuously to take effect.

You have to talk to the child once you see him or her doing it. Tell your child about what thumbsucking and the pacifier do to the teeth. For the child to understand better, you might want to search for some examples on the internet to show.

And once the child starts to stop doing it, don’t think twice about providing rewards. Give him some of his or her favorite treats or toys. Even simple praise isn’t bad too. Remember, positive reinforcement goes a long way for a child’s growth.

Go To A Psychiatrist

If you can’t do it, then let the psychiatrist do the work for you. Psychiatrists know a lot of psychological intervention methods to make the child stop thumb sucking or use the pacifier such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy.

Dentists Can Also Help

You can also go to your dentist and ask for a dental appliance. To give you an idea, a dental appliance is like a brace that dentists install on the child’s upper teeth. Depending on the severity of the habit, a dental appliance will have to stay on your child’s mouth for 6 months or 1 year.

If you are looking for a dentist, HPS Advanced Dental Care would love to see you.  Dr. Heather and Dr. Maltese are gladly accepting new patients.

We are located at 4741 24 Mile Rd. Shelby Township, MI 48316, and we can be reached at  (248) 652-0024.  We look forward to meeting you!