Thumb sucking and pacifier use are totally normal for very young children. Many babies use their mouths to help discover the world and as a way to self-soothe and relax for sleep. Thumb sucking has even been seen in the womb!

However, when thumb sucking and pacifier use continue into the toddler years, this behavior can cause damage to a child’s teeth. Learn all about thumb sucking from your McAllen pediatric dentists at Heroes Dental, as well as a few tips to help break the habit.  

Will Thumb Sucking Damage Your Child’s Teeth?

While thumb sucking and pacifier use are perfectly normal during infancy, they can become damaging to the teeth and jaws over time. This particular self-soothing behavior typically stops on its own between 2-4 years old as children learn new coping methods.

Children who quit in this time frame typically have few dental issues, but if your child is on the older side, your McAllen pediatric dentists at Heroes Dental can help you work on a plan to fix issues that have arisen. 

Some of these issues include:

  • tooth decay
  • slanting teeth
  • narrowing of the roof of the mouth
  • jaw misalignment
  • mouth sores

Most kids will quit thumb sucking or pacifier use on their own, however, some children will need help learning new self-soothing behaviors. You can teach your little hero alternate ways to calm down with some patience.

Helpful Tips to Break the Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habit From a McAllen Dentist

If your child isn’t ready to give up the comfort of their pacifier, there are plenty of ways to help them break the habit.

Once your child is old enough, have a conversation with them about the effects of thumb sucking. Kids can understand a lot more than adults often give them credit for, just use kid-friendly language and they’ll be able to understand the ideas. If your child is eager to be a big kid, you can also bring up that big kids don’t use pacifiers anymore.

Since thumb sucking and pacifiers are soothing, you can help your child learn new ways to calm down and manage stress. 

Some great ideas are reading a book, holding a favorite stuffed animal, or singing a song. 

You can also practice managing worry and stress with healthy behaviors, such as calm breathing techniques and stretches. Every kid is different, so work together to find what works best for them.

If your child is thumb sucking out of unconscious habit, you will need to help a bit more: 

  • When you see them sucking their thumb, ask if your child realizes they are doing it. 
  • Keep the pacifier away for longer periods or only use it at night. 
  • Try setting a date to give up the pacifier. If you make it an event, your child should be less anxious about the changes.

Still Having Trouble Breaking the Habit? Heroes Dental Is Here for You

If you’re still struggling with thumb sucking, you may need more help. This is the time to talk to your dentist in McAllen, TX. Heroes Dental knows how to make dental health easy for little ones to understand. We even have our Little Heroes locations where we’re all about making dental care fun for your child.

We can help you break the pacifier habit. Call us right now to schedule your appointment!

Contact Us Now

Request an Appointment for Your Smile!

Request an Appointment