Valleau, VanDeven & Massie Dentistry for Children
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Children’s Dentistry: Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use Addressed

December 28, 2021
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Posted By: Valleue, VanDeven & Massie Dentistry for Children

If you’re like most parents, you’re concerned about your child’s oral development. You want their teeth to come in correctly and don’t want to do anything to disrupt the process.

Your pediatric dentists in Rockford and Grand Rapids, MI are here to help.

Thumb and Finger Sucking

Thumb sucking is relatively common in young children, and it is natural. You can even witness this habit on ultrasound pictures. In addition, thumb and finger sucking are often a comfort to children navigating the adult world.

However, it’s essential to curb the habit between two and four. This is because prolonged thumb and finger sucking can interfere with oral development. But your approach to stopping the practice should be subtle, and patience is required.

Pacifiers and Young Children

Prolonged pacifier use can also disrupt oral development and natural jaw growth. But just like thumb and finger sucking, it’s essential to exercise patience when trying to rid your child of the habit—typically between ages two and four.

It’s also crucial that you not encourage pacifier use by dipping it sugar or fruit juice. Doing so can promote early tooth decay as well as prolonged pacifier use.

Tips to Curb Finger Sucking and Pacifier Use

Most children stop these habits naturally, but if your child is having difficulty, try the following:

  • Praise your child for not taking the pacifier instead of scolding them for the habit.
  • Reward your child for a job well done if they spend the day playing and not sucking their fingers.
  • Ensure that your child is not anxious, which can promote sucking.
  • Talk to your child’s dentist for more customized tips that address your child’s unique personality.

Top Pediatric Dentists in Grand Rapids and Rockford, MI

If your child has these habits past the age of four, don’t worry. Together, we can come up with solutions. Contact our dental office today to schedule a consultation with your child’s dentist.

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