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The Effects of Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking On Your Child’s Teeth

If you’re looking for the best orthodontist in Downers Grove, Oakbrook Orthodontics is the place for you. We offer a wide array of orthodontic procedures, and we’ll formulate a treatment plan to give you that “Hollywood” smile you’ve always wanted.

Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

In the area of pediatric dental care, parents often ask about the effects thumb-sucking and pacifiers have on a child’s teeth, wondering if this activity is harmful and at what age it should stop. In response, it’s helpful to remember that sucking is part of an infant’s natural instincts. It begins in the womb and continues after birth because it makes them feel secure and happy.

Harmful Effects

Natural though it may be, prolonged thumb/finger sucking and pacifier use can have harmful effects.

  • Jaw misalignment – Used over a prolonged period, pacifiers and thumb/finger sucking can move a child’s developing jaws out of proper alignment.
  • Tooth decay – Parents often dip pacifiers in sugar or honey, but they shouldn’t. Oral bacteria feed on sugar and emit acids that attack tooth enamel, leading to pediatric tooth decay.
  • Roof narrowing – Prolonged sucking can cause the roof of the mouth to narrow which can create problems with developing teeth.
  • Slanting teeth ­– Growing teeth may slant or protrude from prolonged sucking.
  • Mouth sores – Prolonged aggressive sucking may cause sores or ulcers to develop.

Help from the Best Orthodontist in Downers Grove

The good news is that eventually most children grow out of this sucking stage and find other ways to relax and soothe themselves. But if the practice continues beyond the age of five, professional intervention may be needed. If so, contact Oakbrook Orthodontics, and together we’ll work our way through the situation and ward off future dental problems.


Do not wait, contact us today for free and learn more.