Pacifiers and thumb-sucking: Impacts on teeth

Pacifiers and thumb-sucking: Impacts on teeth

A child’s need to suck reassures, comforts and helps him or her fall asleep, but the prolonged habit of using a pacifier or thumb in their mouth can eventually have consequences for the growth of their teeth and jaw. If pacifiers are used after the age of three, this can lead to jaw misalignment. Teeth can also become inclined, such as the upper teeth moving forward, which can make the occlusion (the way the teeth close together) unfavorable. In addition, when children use their thumb to suck, this can cause the roof of the mouth to hollow out in the shape of the thumb, making it too narrow and leaving insufficient room for adult teeth. Pacifiers should also not be dipped in honey, maple syrup or other sweet liquids, as the sugar gets stuck in the mouth and causes tooth decay.

Among the various pacifiers on the market, orthodontic pacifiers are an available option for your baby. The orthodontic pacifier has a flat-bottomed teat and is designed so that the baby doesn’t have to suck as hard to keep the pacifier in the mouth, reducing pressure on teeth and jaw. But be careful! Studies show that orthodontic pacifiers are not without consequences, and can lead to jaw and tooth development problems if continued at an advanced age. Thus, the advantages of orthodontic pacifiers are minor compared to the use of conventional pacifiers, but they are recommended to replace the conventional pacifier or thumb, which have greater consequences on tooth development.

It should be noted that the need to suck naturally disappears between the ages of 2 and 3. If this is not the case for your child, it is important that this habit ceases before adult teeth appear, to avoid irreversible consequences on the child’s dentition. Dental problems caused by pacifiers could result in chewing difficulties, poor digestion and pronunciation problems. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult your dentist!

Question or comment

Your email address and your phone will not be published. Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).