Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use: Need to stop by age 5!

It is very common for young children to suck their thumb, pacifier and/or other objects. It provides children with a sense of security and happiness. It can, however, cause problems beyond the age of 5 when permanent teeth start to come in. This may affect the shape of the child’s mouth and roof of the mouth and cause the jaw to be very narrow. This can also cause the upper teeth to stick out and be more prominent which can lead to and what we call an “open bite”.

An “open bite” is when the front teeth do not correctly come together and there is a large gap between the upper and lower jaws.

Thumb sucking and pacifier use absolutely needs to stop before age 5-6. If it does not, your child needs to see Dr. Markova for an intervention or Phase I treatment. This can include different reminder appliances to help them stop or an expander.

Some helpful tricks to try to stop thumb sucking:

  • Put a large, men’s sized sock over your child’s hand that extends past the elbow every night.

  • Make a calendar and use a rewards system – every day that the child does not suck their thumb, they get a “smiley face” on the calendar. At the end of the week, they get a special treat!

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