Articles tagged with: thumb sucking prevention

All about Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking

For most babies, thumb and pacifier sucking is an enjoyable part of everyday life. Because breastfeeding is an instinctive and natural habit for babies, babies feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe when using their thumb or pacifier as a breastfeeding aid.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), most children will stop using a pacifier before they are four years old. Thumb sucking can become a more difficult habit and last longer without intervention. You can also browse Amazon UK website to purhase thumb appliances and thus help prevent thumb sucking in children.


Children who continue to suck their thumbs or pacifiers after five years of age (and especially children who continue after permanent teeth appear) are at high risk for dental complications.

How can sucking on thumbs and pacifiers damage children's teeth?

Damaging the pacifier and sucking the thumb can be very dangerous. Both can be difficult to spot with the naked eye and usually occur over a period of time. Below is an overview of some of the risks associated with thumb sucking and prolonged pacifier use:

Narrowing of the roof – The structure in the mouth is very flexible in childhood. Prolonged repeated contact with thumb and pacifier sucking actually narrows the floor ceiling. This in turn can cause problems with tooth development.

Slanted Teeth – The dentition may slant or protrude due to sucking on the thumb and pacifier, leading to poor aesthetic results. Additionally, thumb sucking and use of a pacifier in childhood can increase the need for extensive orthodontic treatment.

Mouth sores – Passive sucking is much more dangerous than aggressive sucking. Aggressive sucking can cause sores or ulcers.

Does My Child Need A Thumb-Sucking Guard?

Self-soothing with a thumb is normal and natural in babies, but when they don't lose the habit as they grow up, thumb-sucking can cause changes to the shape of the mouth and teeth that are difficult to fix. A thumb-sucking guard helps prevent a child from putting a thumb in his or her mouth because it inhibits the satisfying feeling associated with it. Pediatric dentists and pediatricians can discuss a range of devices available and choose the best one for your child.

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Thumb-Sucking Guards

A few types of soft plastic guards can fit on the hands or mouth to prevent children from sucking their thumbs.

A device called an aversion therapy splint is a plastic cylinder that sits over your child's thumb. The cylinder is attached to a childproof wristband and is too large to fit comfortably in the child's mouth. Pediatric dentists may also recommend a guard that sits in your child's mouth while he indulges in the habit, holding the thumb away from the roof of the mouth so that the child can't achieve suction

Consider asking your pediatrician or pediatric dentist if your child requires thumb-sucking guards if habits do not go after the fourth birthday. Dental problems often correcting themselves, as long as children stop sucking habits of their mothers before their permanent teeth emerge, according to URMC. Those under the age of four are not in need of treatment for thumb-sucking, said UCPC, but if that habit continues after the age of five can cause real damage. However, if a child age five and older are rare thumb-suckers and no visible damage, no treatment is necessary.