Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use – When to Worry and How to Stop 

Even when they are not hungry, babies are predisposed to suck on their fingers or toys for comfort and to soothe themselves. Some ultrasounds even show newborns sucking on their fingers while in the womb. When they are not breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle, many newborns rely on pacifiers or thumbs. Nonetheless, there is continuous debate over thumb sucking and pacifier sucking. 

Some people are concerned about thumb sucking since it might change the anatomy of a child’s mouth if done too often, but sucking on pacifiers can raise the risk of ear infections. If you are worried about your child sucking on a pacifier or their thumb, speak to a Bristol, Connecticut dentist immediately. 

Why do babies suck on their thumbs? 

Babies’ inherent rooting and sucking instincts drive them to insert their thumbs or fingers into their mouths – even before birth. Because thumb sucking makes newborns feel safe, some babies may develop the behavior of thumb sucking when they require calming or are falling asleep.

How long does thumb-sucking last? 

Many youngsters quit sucking their thumbs on their own by six or seven months or between the ages of two and four. Even if a youngster has quit sucking his or her thumb, the activity may return in times of stress.

Should you intervene? 

Thumb sucking is not a problem until a child’s permanent teeth appear. Thumb sucking may now impact the roof of the mouth (palate) or how the teeth line up. The frequency, length, and intensity with which your youngster sucks on his or her thumb are associated with the risk of dental issues.

Although some experts advocate treating thumb-sucking behaviors before age three, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that therapy is generally reserved for children who continue to suck their thumbs beyond age five.

How to make them stop 

Depending on their age – particularly if they are older – it is best to talk to them initially. You will be more effective with your child if you can make them understand that you are aiming to assist them, which implies that any strategy you select is something they actively participate in.

If your child is thumb-sucking to get attention, you might try to ignore the activity and see if it goes away on its own. In young children, continual negative feedback may provoke acts, and if they realize that you are responding, they may have difficulty stopping the habit. An experienced dentist can guide you and provide more tips, so schedule a consultation today.