Careers at Cary
Robert D. Elliott, DMD, MS
Julie R. Molina, DDS, MS
Pediatric Dental Specialists
Thumb, Finger & Pacifier Habits
Are these habits bad for the teeth and jaws?
Most children stop sucking on thumbs, pacifiers or other objects on their own between two and three years of age. No harm is done to their teeth or jaws. However, some children repeatedly suck on a finger, pacifier or other object over long periods of time. In these children, the upper front teeth may tip toward the lip or not come in properly.
When should I worry about a sucking habit?
Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina will carefully watch the way your child’s teeth come in and jaws develop, keeping the sucking habit in mind at all times. For most children there is no reason to worry about a sucking habit until the permanent front teeth are ready to come in, but it should be discouraged by the age of four!
What can I do to stop my child’s habit?
Most children stop sucking habits on their own, but some children need the help of their parents. When your child is old enough to understand the possible results of a sucking habit, Dr. Elliott or Dr. Molina can encourage your child to stop, as well as talk about what happens to the teeth if your child doesn’t stop. This advice, coupled with the support from parents, helps most children quit.
Are pacifiers a safer habit for the teeth than thumbs or fingers?
Thumb, finger and pacifier sucking all affect the teeth essentially the same way. However, a pacifier habit is often easier to break.
Our mission is to provide specialized and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents in a friendly, safe, and state-of-the-art environment with a focus on prevention and education for the families. Dr. Elliott, Dr. Molina, and our TEAM are here to positively change this generation’s view of going to the dentist, one child at a time.