It’s natural for babies to want to suck on a pacifier or even fingers. Babies can begin this suck reflex in the womb. Sucking on pacifers and fingers helps babies feel secure. Young children may also use pacifiers and finger sucking as a form of self-soothing and to fall asleep.
Most children will give up the habit on their own between ages 2-4. Dr. Marra recommends limiting the use of pacifiers by age two when all primary (baby) teeth are in the mouth.
Long-term pacifier use and finger/thumb sucking can impact the alignment of the teeth and the growth of the mouth. Dr. Marra encourages parents to carefully observe how often and long during the day and night a child is using a pacifier or fingers and how intensely a child sucks. Frequent and intense sucking can pose a bigger risk for dental issues.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Marra if you have concerns about your child’s pacifier for finger-sucking habit, especially if you notice changes in your child’s baby teeth. He and his team of skilled dental hygienists at Huntersville Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can provide advice to help your child successfully kick the habit.